In Powhatan County, the fire department volunteers asked for a full-time chief to be appointed for several years. The chief would be a “strong” chief, ultimately having complete control over the five volunteer fire companies. After years of trying to get this position filled, the position was successfully filled by retired Chesterfield Battalion Chief Rick Bucher.
However, after Bucher was in office for less than three years, a new Board of Supervisors made the decision to not fund several key agency heads, including the position of fire chief. The two part-time county assistant chiefs were left to attempt to fill the void left by Bucher’s vacancy.
Now, Carroll Smith, the volunteer fire chief at Fire Company 1 in the county’s Courthouse area is pleading to have the position filled again.
The impact of the vacancy has been felt on other levels as well. Without a full-time chief, Smith said, the five county fire departments have no one to coordinate operations between them and no one to act as an advocate when it comes to issues before the board.
Bucher was a unifier, said Smith, and was able to make sure that the needs of the various departments were being met. “Right now, we’re losing all that,” said Smith.
Powhatan County Supervisor Carson Tucker, who recently met with Smith to discuss his concerns, said there is little doubt in his mind as to the importance of the position. “It’s not a decision on whether the county needs such a position – that’s not in question,” said Tucker. “It’s strictly an issue of money.”
Read more about the financial issues that seem to hinder the re-appointment of a full time chief here: http://www.timesdispatch.com/powhatantoday/news/should-fire-chief-post-be-filled/article_3c707a86-7139-11e2-bf85-001a4bcf6878.html
Full disclosure: This website editor and author of this blog entry is also a volunteer chief officer in Powhatan County.
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