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Carrollton City Council moved to install advanced fire engineer Greg Beck as the new fire chief Monday night.
The city has been without a fire chief since Randy Tharp’s retirement nearly 18 months ago.
“We have a person who has been handling that position now for a year and a half,” Mayor Gene McMurry told council. “And I’m recommending that we appoint Greg Beck as fire chief for the Carrollton Fire Department.”
The only discussion on the recommendation came from Councilman Robb Adams, who is also a member of the fire department.
Adams said he just heard about this at work a few days ago. “Did we advertise for that,” he asked.
McMurry responded, “No.”
City Clerk/Treasurer Becky Pyles said the city doesn’t have to advertise for the position.
Instead, McMurry said they will advertise for a fire engineer/dispatcher position. That job is now held by Bryant Hunger, who is becoming a city police officer.
The mayor praised Beck’s work, which has included the duties of the fire chief.
“Greg’s been doing it for a year and a half and is doing a really good job,” he said at the meeting. “I feel confident in him being able to handle the position”
Beck thanked council members and the mayor for their support.
“I really appreciate the honor and the privilege, and hopefully I can do as well a job as you think that I can.” he said.
In an interview Tuesday, McMurry explained the move to fill the position at this point.
“We have been needing a fire chief for a long time,” he said. “It was time to move on and get that position filled.”
The mayor said he has been working with Beck to prepare him for the position, allowing him to mature and enhance his skills.
“I wanted to make sure he was ready to assume the position,” he said. “He is very capable, very knowledgeable.”
“It’s a good move,” McMurry said in a telephone interview Tuesday morning. Beck “had a lot of support last night.”
As far as the job duties for Beck, not a lot will change with his appointment because he has already been handling most of the chief’s duties in his advanced engineer role.
McMurry said they have worked together to set out a plan for the department that will continue. This includes involvement in the schools and visiting businesses for inspections to point out fire-safety risks.
Beck said they are “starting small,” performing some of the walk-through and pre-planning inspections for schools and commercially occupied buildings. He said the department has received a lot of input from local people who say they like having their own fire department make these visits, instead of having the state handle it.
“I wanted community involvement,” McMurry said, and not to just see the fire department as the big truck that shows up when there is a fire. “That’s what he’s been doing.”
McMurry said other duties include overseeing training for fire department personnel, maintaining the equipment and working to obtain grants.
Beck said he will be working with the department’s volunteers on their training. Recently, he said they had an excellent pre-planning training session at the Carroll County Public Library, where they were able to set off alarms and test the system there to prepare them in the event of a call to the facility.
The fire department is currently conducting its officer elections with the volunteers, Beck said. He said he will support and work with the assistant chief and captains that the volunteers elect in December.
Once they are elected, he said he will sit down with them and “get a game plan for the next few years.”
At Monday night’s meeting, City Attorney Nick Marsh administered the oath of office to Beck.
Council approved the new job description for the fire chief position on first reading.
Marsh noted that the changes take out any responsibility for the E-911 dispatch center that is now under the police chief..
Second reading will be Nov. 26.
Council also set the fire chief’s pay grade on first reading. The chief’s pay grade is 30, which ranges from $36,117 to $57,787. Moving into that grade represents a pay increase for Beck, but Pyles said he will start at the bottom of that grade.
“When you promote somebody, they either make more or you don’t take any more away from them,” Pyles said. “So he will be having a raise.”