The South Sound 911 Policy Board unanimously voted Wednesday, Jan. 9, to confirm Lakewood City Manager Andrew Neiditz as the first executive director of the new public safety agency, pending successful contract negotiations.

The Policy Board, which consists of elected officials from member jurisdictions, made the selection during a public meeting held in the boardroom of the dispatch agency formerly known as the Law Enforcement Support Agency (LESA). The vote followed three weeks of thoughtful deliberation.

“We have made huge strides in building this new agency,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, who is chair of the Policy Board. “We have begun building the new radio network that will provide seamless communication among first responders. We are in the process of evaluating 911 dispatch facility needs. We welcomed the City of Buckley and its dispatch partners into the system. And now we have selected the first executive director.

“The Policy Board is confident that Andrew Neiditz can meet the challenge of building a modern, unified emergency communication and response system to protect and serve our communities and partner agencies,” McCarthy added.

Neiditz was selected based on his local experience and knowledge of the community, and his early involvement with creating the county’s first enhanced-911 system.

He has more than 25 years of senior executive experience in local government. He has been the Lakewood city manager since 2005. He earlier served as city administrator in Sumner and he held two leadership positions for Pierce County – deputy county executive and later as executive director of public safety, where he provided oversight of six departments.

Neiditz was selected from a pool of 32 applicants from 18 states. He was the top choice among three finalists who were vetted by a search committee and then voted on Dec. 14 by the Combined Operations Board, a panel of police and fire chiefs representing member agencies.

The Policy Board hopes the contract negotiations are completed in time to be considered at its next meeting, scheduled for Jan. 23 at 9 a.m. in the Lakewood City Hall Council Chambers, 6000 Main Street SW, Lakewood.