Mayor: Mount Carmel Fire Committee a tool no longer needed

Jeff Bobo • Aug 1, 2018 at 3:14 PM

MOUNT CARMEL — Although no action was taken last week on a proposed ordinance eliminating the city’s Fire Committee, Mayor Chris Jones said it will come up again next month for consideration.

The ordinance was the first item of new business on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s July 26 agenda, but when Jones asked for a motion for approval, none was given, and the proposal died without discussion or explanation.

At the end of the meeting, however, Alderman and longtime Fire Committee member Carl Wolfe said some explanation for the ordinance was warranted. Wolfe said it should be considered again next month.

“Every one of the departments we have is run by the department heads except for the fire department,” Jones explained. “The Fire Committee was actually brought in after I was chief, and that was something I used as a tool because it (requests) was a lot easier coming from a committee to you all. At that time we were doing a lot of research, we were having to do a lot of work, and it saved a lot of time for me while we were doing ISO (fire insurance rating) stuff.”

Austin Simpson was named interim fire chief in April when former Chief Tim Risner stepped down due to a health issue and was subsequently hired as part-time fire chief.

Jones added, “Now we have a department head there, just like any other department head, and (city manager) Mike (Housewright) works with that department head. Having a committee there is kind of a tool that’s no longer needed.”

In other business, the BMA:

— Heard a report from Jones that Mount Carmel has been awarded a 100 percent grant to cover the cost of making safety improvements to the entire length of Hammond Avenue, including rumble strips down the center and safety signs.

— Heard a report from City Manager Mike Housewright that the restrooms at the upper ball field at the City Park will be converted into an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) facility. Housewright said he is also in the process of organizing a community volunteer cleanup day at the park.

— Heard a report from Housewright that interim Police Chief Grady White has accepted the police chief position.

— Agreed to participate in the Tennessee Municipal League Safety Partners matching grant program, which will cover $1,500 for the cost of purchasing one police car video camera for $2,600. White said there are currently 4-5 police cars where the cameras don’t work correctly.

— Heard a report from Jones that he will not be running for re-election as mayor in 2020.


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