Citrus County active EOC 2017

The Citrus County Emergency Operations Center shows activity in this September 2017 photo from the sheriff's office Facebook page.

Citrus County will have a new emergency management director just as hurricane season takes off, pending county commission approval Tuesday.

Amanda Woodward, emergency preparedness program manager for the Florida Department of Health in Lecanto, is the choice of Sheriff Mike Prendergast and a hiring committee that included representatives of the county administration and sheriff’s office.

The committee interviewed six candidates and two were chosen as most qualified, County Administrator Randy Oliver said in an agenda memo to commissioners. He said the highest ranked candidate, a recent Lake County deputy manager, subsequently withdrew his application.

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Woodward, who will report to sheriff’s Col. Elena Vitt, has worked for the health department since 2020. She played a leading role in the health department’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out in Citrus County, managing the mass vaccination operation center.

Woodward has a bachelor’s of science from the University of Central Florida, and a master’s of science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. She is a candidate for the Florida Professional Emergency Management certification in the 2021 class, Oliver wrote.

Along with her experience at the health department, Woodward’s work history includes a year as a coordinator for Pasco County Emergency Services. She lives in Lecanto.

Woodward’s selection was the result of a hiring committee that included representatives from the health department, school district, county fire rescue, and cities of Crystal River and Inverness.

The committee sent its recommendations to Prendergast, who sent his selection to the county commission for final approval. The confirmation is on Tuesday’s board agenda.

Commissioners in February agreed to leave the emergency management department in the hands of the sheriff’s office after Prendergast told the board he would be able to run operations more cost effectively than the county.

The director’s duties include emergency management planning and response and recovery for all county disasters.

Hurricane season began June 1 and runs to Nov. 30. Forecasters are predicting an above-average season.

Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com. To view more of his stories, go to www.tinyurl.com/y3bakm6w.

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