Former department head returning to helm of Volusia County Emergency Management

Jim Judge had retired from his position as emergency management director in 2021.

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  • | 8:00 p.m. April 12, 2022
  • Ormond Beach Observer
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by: Kevin Captain

Director of Volusia County Community Information

Jim Judge will be returning to a familiar role with Volusia County government.

Judge, the face of Volusia County Emergency Management for seven-and-a-half years, stepped down from the position in January 2021. His retirement, however, was short lived, as Judge was re-hired in November 2021 to serve as deputy public protection director. And now, he’ll be returning to his position as head of emergency management. Emergency Management Director Helene Wetherington has resigned the position, effective April 14.

“During my tenure, I accomplished significant enhancements to your organization which I hope may continue to flourish in years to come,” said Wetherington to County Manager George Recktenwald in her letter of resignation. “I appreciate the professional growth and development opportunities you provided to me during my tenure.”

Wetherington outlined a number of accomplishments since she came on board in May 2021, including development of a five-year strategic plan for Emergency Management, spearheading a public outreach campaign to create awareness about evacuation zones, enhancement of the emergency management mobile app and the awarding of grant funding to develop a backup citizen’s information center for use during emergency activations. Under Wetherington’s tenure, Emergency Management also initiated the process of transitioning to an upgraded public warning notification system.

“We thank Helene for her service and her contributions to the organization and wish her well,” Recktenwald said. “At the same time, we’re very fortunate to have Jim back on the team and willing to step back into his former role at Emergency Management. It remains to be seen whether this will be a permanent or temporary assignment, but the important thing is that it will make for a seamless transition for all involved.”

Judge has more than 48 years of public protection service and helped guide Volusia County to its first ever full accreditation by the national Emergency Management Accreditation Program. He served as executive director of Lake-Sumter EMS and then after that, Lake County EMS before being hired as Volusia County emergency management director in June 2013. Judge also worked as a firefighter-paramedic and lieutenant at the Del-Trail Fire District in Palm Beach County, was the head of EMS for Indian River County, operations supervisor for the Indian River Memorial Hospital in Vero Beach and EMS manager for Quality Ambulance Service in Boca Raton.


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