Cameron Park resident Stephen Sellers, 59, has been appointed by Gov. Brown as the assistant director for response at the California Emergency Management Agency.
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Sellers held multiple positions at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services from 1995 to 2009. Since 2009 he has been the assistant secretary for prevention, information analysis and operations at the California Emergency Management Agency.
The local resident said the agency’s main responsibility is providing emergency service response and support to local governments as well as preparing and planning for emergencies. He noted the need for such efforts, citing the recent example from the East Coast where people were left for days without power, food or water.
“We have a 24-hour watch center that is constantly monitoring for emergencies, whether they are fire, storm, flooding, earthquake, or hazardous waste-related,” he said.
Right now his agency is monitoring the storms hitting California because of their potential to cause flooding and landslides. During the summer they are on alert for fires. Fortunately, he noted, there haven’t been any major disasters lately, with the last one being in 2008 when the state was aflame after a series of lightning strikes.
Sellers said the agency has three operations centers when there’s an emergency: a state center and two regional ones. When an emergency is called, he runs the state center.
“We’re also the lead state organization for coordinating with FEMA and delivering their programs,” he noted. “But the main thing is to make sure that the state government is coordinated with local government during emergencies.”
The agency also does a great deal of search and rescue work. Sellers noted they work closely with the local sheriffs offices and recently completed a major training session that brought in volunteers from throughout the state.
Seller said that one of the strengths he brings to the job are his interpersonal skills because so much of what he does involves planning and working with people. “I enjoy the human focus of the job and it’s rewarding to help people survive these kinds of events. It’s very fulfilling, because what we do is very critical to public safety.”
Sellers has a MA in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara and is married with one child. A Democrat, he and his family have lived in Cameron Park since 2008. Compensation for the position is $108,638.
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