Burnet County Emergency Management coordinator Jim Barho stood before the Commissioners Court on Tuesday, Dec. 13, and received an avalanche of admiration from commissioners and county officials. He is retiring as coordinator after 24 years of service. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey
Jim Barho addressed his last Burnet County Commissioners Court as emergency management coordinator on Tuesday, Dec. 13. He is retiring after 24 years on the job. County officials offered him their sincere thanks and acknowledged his accomplishments during the meeting.
Barho began his career with Burnet County in 1998 as a captain at the Sheriff’s Office and emergency management coordinator. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Western Region Radio System, a state-of-the-art communications network that covers Burnet, Llano, and Blanco counties.
County Judge James Oakley asked Barho for a departmental update at the beginning of the meeting and used that as an opportunity to ambush him with gratitude. This is the second time this year the judge has taken the opportunity to recognize Barho’s efforts, the first being in January when he was applauded for receiving the Phill Parmer Volunteer Service Award from the Capital Area Council of Governments.
“The reality is, it’s a little bit of a gotcha moment,” he told Barho. “I just want to thank you for everything you’ve done for Burnet County.”
County Auditor Karin Smith, Development Services Director Herb Darling, and Commissioner Joe Don Dockery also expressed their appreciation for Barho’s work.
“Most of the general public doesn’t understand the amount of pre-planning that goes into an emergency response,” Darling said. “We’re going to miss you.”
As emergency management coordinator, Barho was responsible for developing specific plans and procedures for a variety of emergency situations and improving the county’s ability to adequately respond to them before, during, and after they happen.
“The Western Region Radio System is state of the art,” Dockery told Barho. “I applaud you for all the hard work you’ve done on that over the years.”
The radio system is a communications network supported by 12 towers spread across Burnet, Llano, and Blanco counties that allows for fluid communication between city, county, and state departments that operate in the region. The network also connects to the 10 counties that make up the Capital Area Capital of Governments.
Barho is currently the chief officer of the Western Region Radio System and will continue to serve as such until the first phase of a $7 million major network overhaul is complete in early 2023.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to work with the county,” Barho told DailyTrib.com after the meeting. “The thing I’ll miss the most is working with the people.”