An assistant chief will soon be named for the Mount Airy Fire Department, thus filling a vacancy that has existed for several years, according to Fire Chief Zane Poindexter.
Someone is needed in that role to handle increasing responsibilities being shared by other department personnel at present, he said.
“The primary job will be the fire marshal duties for the city,” Poindexter added of the assistant’s functions, which will encompass the code enforcement area along with fire investigations. “Those duties have been shared by different captains.”
In discussing the reason for appointing an assistant, which the city fire department has lacked since about 2008, “We’ve just seen the need here lately more than ever,” the fire chief said. This is coinciding with a recent new emphasis on enforcement of building codes by Mount Airy elected officials.
But the fire chief said the personnel move will not require an extra expenditure.
“It’s been a position we’ve had in the budget — we just haven’t filled it,” Poindexter explained.
Mount Airy implemented the assistant’s job more than 20 years ago, with Poindexter dating its origins to a period preceding the hiring of Wes Greene as fire chief in 1992. Benny Brannock served as assistant chief under Greene, and when Brannock later became chief, Jimmy Meadows had that role.
“We’re looking to fill it,” Poindexter said of the opening, with the selection limited to present department members.
“We’ve interviewed internally and hope to get it filled in the near future,” said the fire chief, who could not suggest a date for that timetable other than “soon.”
The salary for the job is in the $40,000 range.
Public To Benefit
One thing Poindexter is certain of is that having an assistant fire chief on board will benefit Mount Airy citizens.
“Our customer service will improve so much,” he said.
For example, the fact that different captains are now handling the job responsibilities hampers continuity, according to Poindexter. Reviewing plans or permits for a certain location sometimes will require attention by three different people and be spread over multiple days due to the captains working varying schedules, he said, including night shifts.
The new assistant chief, on the other hand, will work a regular 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule Monday through Friday.
“It’s going to streamline our services,” Poindexter said.
“We’re looking forward to getting this position filled soon.”
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.