New director named for county’s Department of Emergency Managment

After six years, Jason Biermann has stepped aside but will stay in Snohomish County. Lucia Schmit will move in from Seattle.

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EVERETT — Seattle’s emergency planning coordinator, Lucia Schmit, has been hired to run Snohomish County’s Department of Emergency Management.

Schmit will take the reins as director on Nov. 28. She has been an emergency manager for 20 years, working at the local, state, federal and international levels. Schmit is taking over for Jason Biermann, who held the position since 2016, but recently took a job as a policy advisor in the county executive’s office.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers appointed Schmit, and the County Council confirmed the appointment unanimously last Tuesday.

“As we’ve seen over the last few years, Snohomish County’s Department of Emergency Management is a vital tool to help us respond to any disaster, from a global pandemic to floods and winter storms,” Somers said. “Lucia will be a great asset as we work to make Snohomish County even more resilient and prepare ourselves for any future emergencies.”

The Emergency Management Department has 22 full-time employees, and its 2023 budget totals $22.7 million. Schmit will earn an annual salary of $157,462.

She got her start working for the state of Virginia’s Emergency Management Department before moving to the federal level. She went on to work in emergency management for the U.S. Forest Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, also known as FEMA.

“Snohomish County Emergency Management has a stellar reputation, and I’m looking forward to leading the team,” Schmit said. “Whether it is a hyper-local disaster or a global emergency, we will partner with our residents to respond, recover, and prepare.”

In her predecessor’s tenure, Snohomish County became one of the first jurisdictions in the United States to use its emergency management system to respond to the opioid pandemic. Somers said the decision broke down “organizational silos,” allowing for a better approach. In 2019, the county received one of eight national awards of FEMA’s Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program under Biermann’s leadership.

She is the third director since the department was created 17 years ago.

Kayla J. Dunn: 425-339-3449; kayla.dunn@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @KaylaJ_Dunn.

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