Lincoln County’s emergency management director has been suspended by county commissioners with pay until pending DUI charges are addressed and resolved in district court. An assistant volunteer director will take over his duties in the interim.


Lincoln County’s emergency management director has been suspended by county commissioners with pay until pending DUI charges are addressed and resolved in district court. An assistant volunteer director will take over his duties in the interim.
Joey Wakefield, 39, is charged in Lincoln County District Court with a misdemeanor of aggravated driving while under the influence of alcohol, with that charge stemming from an arrest by sheriff’s deputies a week ago.
Lincoln County commissioners held a special meeting Thursday, spending nearly three hours in executive session, said Debbie Greenfield, county clerk.
Upon return to open meeting, she said commissioners voted to suspend Wakefield with pay until the outcome of his court case. Commissioners also drafted a letter showing the suspension for Wakefield, who also serves as the county’s flood plain manager and road crossing permit supervisor.
“The period of suspension is to run from this date (Feb. 24) through the date that his pending charges in Lincoln County District Court are addressed and resolved by court action and the Board of County Commissioners has the opportunity to meet and address the issue at that time,” the letter reads.
During the suspension, Wakefield cannot drive a county-owned vehicle or equipment and he is not to perform any related job duties, the letter shows.
The county’s volunteer assistant emergency management director, Robby Ballard, will assume Wakefield’s duties in the interim, Greenfield said, but he remains a volunteer and is not being paid by the county.
During the executive session, commissioners visited with prosecutors and Wakefield also was called in, the county clerk said. Some from the public attended the meeting to show support for Wakefield, she added.
Wakefield was arrested for DUI about 12:33 a.m. Feb. 18 along a rural county road near his home. Lincoln County Sheriff Charlie Dougherty said Wakefield consented to a Breathalyzer test that showed .17, making him legally intoxicated. The formal misdemeanor charge shows his next court date is March 3.
The incident involving the well-known manager, who also serves as the director of the county’s 911 center, has sparked a movement on Facebook with a page titled, “I support Joey Wakefield.”
“Joey Wakefield has spent years volunteering his time and energy making this county a better and safe place to live,” the page shows. Those making comments called him “an exceptional young man” and one who is dedicated and fair.
There’s been no word on how the charge affects his position as 911 director, but reports indicate a meeting of the 911 trust board may be held Friday at 1 p.m.
Wakefield’s attorney, Larry Lenora, declined to comment on the case.
Watch for updates.