Ryan Weber recently ended his nine years as Monroe County Emergency Management Agency Director.
During his tenure, the county had four major flooding events Weber said were the most involved parts of his job.
“Floods are crazy,” he said. “Working with all the different levee districts, seeing their hardships and what all they do, I would never have thought as much went into it as what actually does.”
A Monroe County EMS employee, Weber had served as the county’s EMA director since August 2011.
His assistant director, Kevin Schiebe, took over as public safety coordinator early last year, a job that combined the roles of EMA director and 911 coordinator.
Weber decided to step down to focus more on the day care centers he and his wife own, which is also why he plans to retire from Monroe County EMS in April.
He still plans to stay involved, however, in the part-time role of assistant director of public safety.
“I love working with all the fire departments, police departments and EMS agencies in training and exercises,” Weber said. “It was amazing watching everybody get together. I actually had, a couple different times, our state Illinois Emergency Management Agency representatives tell me how great it was to see so many people come out on a Saturday to spend four to six hours training and practicing.”
“First responders, down here, they like to do it, and we have fun doing it,” Weber added. “Almost everything that we have trained on has happened afterwards, which is kind of crazy.”
While he will miss being so involved with first responders, Weber said he will not miss working with the bureaucracy involved in emergency management.
“The biggest challenge was getting reimbursements from the feds,” he said. “That was the biggest pain, and we’re still dealing with it from COVID: the long, tedious hours spent at a computer inputting bills and stuff like that.”
That process is particularly frustrating because the paperwork changes each year, so it is impossible to work ahead.
Given Scheibe’s work ethic, Weber said that has been the biggest piece of advice he has given to the man who worked as his deputy for three years.
“The biggest thing is not trying to get it all done at one time,” Weber explained. “It’s not a dash to the finish when it comes to dealing with FEMA and IEMA. It’s the long haul. You may get it done early, but they’re not going to accept it early.”