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Ashland hires another emergency team coordinator

The city of Ashland has hired Richard Randleman to become the new coordinator for the Community Emergency Response Team — ending speculation that the city might eliminate the popular program.

Randleman, who worked most recently as the Reserve Officers' Training Corps operations manager at Southern Oregon University, started his new job on Monday.

Previous CERT Coordinator Lucy Edwards and her assistant, Heidi Gottlieb, both left their jobs on March 23 to pursue other opportunities.

"I feel really privileged to have been selected for the position of CERT coordinator," Randleman said. "In my opinion, it's one of the premiere CERT programs in the nation."

Created after a major flood in 1997, Ashland's CERT program has trained more than 400 residents to be prepared to help themselves and neighbors during disasters, according to city officials.

The city of Ashland has faced budget problems that have put the popular program on the chopping block for the past three years. Each time, the Ashland Citizens' Budget Committee and City Council have decided to preserve the program.

City officials said Randleman has served as the emergency liaison officer with the Oregon Military Department and is trained in topics ranging from incident command to fighting wildfires. He has worked with the Oregon National Guard and is a former member of Jackson County Search and Rescue.

A Medford resident, Randleman has several years of experience in volunteer management, public affairs, Web site production and municipal budgeting, city of Ashland officials said.

— Vickie Aldous