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Turbulence continues in Outagamie County’s emergency management department, which is now without its second-in-command just weeks after parting with its director and at the outset of the tornado season.

Officials on Thursday confirmed that Deputy Director Mike Pamperin is no longer employed by the county. The four-member department is responsible for coordinating disaster preparedness and response. Pamperin could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

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Pamperin’s departure follows that of former Emergency Management Director Julie Loeffelholz, who left her position in late April.

County Executive Thomas Nelson declined to discuss the details of either departure, citing confidentiality of personnel matters. Supervisor Jim Duncan, chairman of the county’s Public Safety Committee, said Loeffelholz was given the option of resignation or dismissal, and she chose the former.

Nelson expressed full confidence in the department’s capabilities in spite of the recent departures, citing the experience of interim director Christina Muller. The sheriff’s department, which previously handled emergency management, has also pledged its cooperation.

“We’re fully prepared,” Nelson said.

Loeffelholz drew heavy criticism last year after warning sirens did not sound during a storm Aug. 7 that produced five tornadoes in the county. The storm caused about $36 million in damage.

The shake-up in the office in recent weeks extended beyond the director and deputy director positions.

Robert Olson, exercise and training coordinator, was put on administrative leave last month after filing a report critical of the county’s handling of the tornadoes. Administrators said the document wasn’t authorized. Olson has since returned to the job, and officials declined to say whether he was disciplined for issuing the report.

Loeffelholz’s tenure with Outagamie County was brief. She took control of the emergency management department in January 2013.

Pamperin was hired after the tornadoes. The deputy position was vacant for a period after former deputy Steve Hansel resigned on July 17 last year.

Muller, who preceded Loeffelholz as director, agreed to return until a new director is named. She is on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

Nelson said Muller has contracted with two people experienced in emergency management to bring the department to full staff.

He said he wasn’t concerned about the changes coinciding with the onset of severe weather season.

“We’ve learned that every season in Wisconsin is severe weather season,” Nelson said.

— Jim Collar: 920-993-1000, ext. 216, or jcollar@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @JimCollar

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