ADA — Most organizations overcome the retirement of one individual without major changes. However, when John Burchett retired Dec. 31, 2005, Pontotoc County has a lot of voids to fill according to Lynn Lofton, Pontotoc County Clerk.

Burchett was hired as the civil defense director July 12, 1993. Since then his job has evolved. He served as emergency management director (formerly civil defense,) safety director for Pontotoc County, flood plain administrator and a variety of other jobs.

As emergency management director, Burchett secured millions of dollars of federal and state aid for Pontotoc County, including more than $3 million for the ice storms of 1999 and 2000. Burchett’s documentation and work papers for those FEMA Grants were used by the state auditor’s office as a basis for auditing other counties.

Burchett provides weekly and annual safety meetings at Pontotoc County which, according to Lofton, save thousands of dollars for the taxpayers in workers compensation insurance premiums and claims.

Burchett has also been a key coordinator in assisting in fighting wild fires, Homeland Security drills and other potential life threatening situations. He was responsible for inspecting and securing reimbursement for more than 30 safe-room shelters in the county.

Most recently, Burchett has taken the lead in research and formation for the Pontotoc County Flood Plain program, which will be essential in securing future federal grants and other benefits to the local taxpayers.

Chad Letellier has been hired for similar duties, beginning Jan. 1.