Still no fire chief or recreation director for Pell City
by David Atchison
Sep 14, 2010 | 1217 views |  2 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PELL CITY — Residents have waited almost a year and a half for the appointment of a permanent fire chief and recreation director — they are still waiting.

At Monday night’s City Council meeting, the mayor and council tabled their decision to hire a new fire chief and parks and recreation director.

The decision to table naming a permanent fire chief came as a surprise to some of the city’s firefighters who attended the meeting.

Councilman Donnie Todd made the motion to table the decision to hire a fire chief , and Councilman James McGowan seconded it.

“I don’t want us to make an offer unless we know everything is in place,” Todd said after the council meeting.

Todd said he wants to make sure candidates will accept the city’s salary and move into the city before he casts a vote.

The mayor and council interviewed candidates for the fire chief’s position last Thursday, and it was expected the council would recommend the appointment of a permanent chief Monday night. However, the vote was delayed.

“There’s a question that needs to be answered,” Todd said.

In July, the council approved hiring Jim Golden with the Alabaster Fire & Rescue and the Alabama Fire College in Tuscaloosa, but Golden later withdrew his acceptance as fire chief because he said he could not afford the cut in pay.

The mayor and council again started a search for a fire chief.

Last week, city officials interviewed five candidates for fire chief, including Jim Parsons, who has served as the city’s interim fire chief for more than a year.

Also interviewed for the chief’s position were Childersburg Assistant Fire Chief Vester “Morgan” Arnold of Cropwell; Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service Capt. James Cosnell of Moody; Bobby Golden Jr. of Coal City, who works with the Midfield Fire and Rescue; and Patrick Draper of Montevallo, who works with the Alabama Fire College in Tuscaloosa.

Prior to the council meeting Monday, the mayor and council interviewed five candidates for the Parks and Recreation director. Those interviewed included Harold “Bubba” Edge Jr., who has served more than a year as interim parks director; Cory Truss, who has worked for the Parks and Recreation Department for the past six years and only needs one more year of college for a bachelor’s degree; Shawn McKee, who has worked as athletic assistant for the Parks and Recreation Department since 2008 and holds a four-year degree; Chance Jones of Alexander City, who has two master’s degrees; and Terry Garrett, who is the evening program and community services supervisor for Central Alabama Community College.

In August, the council eliminated the requirement of a bachelor’s degree for both positions.

“We just finished the interviews,” Councilman Greg Gossett said Monday night. “I think we should put this off until the next council work session.”

Gossett said he wanted to check on a few things before deciding who to hire as the city’s permanent Parks and Recreation director.

“I think the council needs more time,” he said.

“I for one agree with you,” Mayor Bill Hereford said.

Gossett made the motion to table the decision to hire a director, which McGowan seconded. The council unanimously approved the motion.

Hereford said the council could hire a fire chief and Parks and Recreation director at the next City Council meeting in two weeks.

“I sure hope so,” he said. “It’s been a long road, but everybody has approached this conscientiously. I hope to bring it to a closure.”

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.

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