The move will effectively split the public safety department into the individual police and fire departments that were standard in the city until the mid-1990s.
City Manager Frank Etheridge said that by splitting the departments and eliminating the public safety director position formerly held by Tommy Freeman the city can save money in salaries over the long run.
“The separation would permit us to reduce the pay rate classifications slightly for the police chief position and increase it slightly for a fire chief position,” said Etheridge in a memo to the council detailing the proposed change.
“I think from a practical standpoint,” council member Ben Bradford said, “it’d be better for morale to have the people that are involved in fire control and the firemen to be answering to a fireman. And I think that’ll be better for all departments, police and fire.”
After the council’s agreement Etheridge immediately moved forward to create and display job postings both within the current departments as well as outside the city.
No final decisions as to the new police chief and fire chief appointments have yet been made, and Etheridge is open to any qualified candidate who wishes to apply.
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