By Opelika Observer Staff

The Lee County Commission voted 4-1 to name Rita Smith as the next director of the Lee County Emergency Management Agency. District 3 Commissioner Gary Long was the only nay vote.

Since joining the organization in 2008, Smith has held multiple titles, including emergency and grant management specialist and public information officer. As director, she plans on prioritizing the improvement of customer service and working more with the public.

“I am deeply humbled to have the opportunity to serve the citizens, first responders and the Lee County Commission,” Smith said in a statement. “Lee County welcomed me with open arms when I moved here in 2008. It has always felt like home.”

Lee County EMA’s director position opened in November following longtime director Kathy Carson’s resignation. She turned in her resignation to the commission after her  mishandling of grant funding used to purchase an all-terrain vehicle which was not properly bid out by state laws.

For more information about Lee County EMA, call 334-749-8161 or visit