Heiskell led a Saturday, June 16, meeting of the department at the new Walker County Agricultural Center to hear what county firefighters had to say. The commissioner is planning to make current Chief Scotty McClure deputy chief and bring in a new chief to oversee the administration.
“Leadership is what I’m looking for right now,” Heiskell said after her commissioner’s meeting Wednesday. “We have two factions in the fire department right now.”
Complaints from firefighters have prompted Heiskell to seek out a new chief. She said McClure was not properly using the funds given, using less than what was annually budgeted for the department.
Heiskell has received nine applications for the fire chief position and plans to interview the applicants within the next two weeks.
The commissioner plans to bring in chiefs from other fire departments to evaluate the Walker department. She said she would listen to their recommendations and evaluations for the system.
Volunteer Phyllis Parker of Station 14 in Villanow attended Saturday’s meeting, which was closed to the public. Parker, an ardent McClure supporter, said the meeting produced little results.
“The meeting was useless,” said Parker on Monday. “It’s politics, without a doubt.”
She said the meeting revolved around issues relating to McClure’s replacement after July 1. According to Parker, Heiskell said it didn’t matter what was said at the meeting as the commissioner was going to make the decision after July 1.
“You can’t get anything done when a department is split,” Heiskell said. “I’m trying to unify the fire department with effective leadership.”
In business at Wednesday’s commissioner’s meeting:
- Heiskell approved a late payment penalty fee of 1.5 percent a month charged by the landfill and transfer station on outstanding balances 30 days past due. The late charges take effect Aug. 1.
- Heiskell re-appointed T.R. Tucker, Jeff Mullis, Frank Richardson, David Milliton and Guy Pope to the county’s Water and Sewer Utility Authority. Each will serve five-year terms.
- Heiskell signed a proclamation in recognition of Bernyce Evitt, who will turn 90 years old Friday. The proclamation declared June 22 Bernyce Evitt Day due to her active community involvement for more than 75 years, and her commitment to education through the Walker school system