Pell City looking for new fire chief
by David Atchison
PELL CITY — The city is officially looking for a new fire chief.

The City Council unanimously approved posting the fire chief’s job after reappointing former Fire Chief Patrick Draper last month as city manager for the next four years.

Draper said due to uncertainty about the future without a permanent fire chief in place, it is best to move forward with filling the position, instead of waiting until the first of next year.

Draper was initially hired as the city’s fire chief in October 2010. He was appointed by the previous administration to serve as the city’s manager. Initially Draper served as both fire chief and city manager, but in November, he was appointed to serve as city manager for the next four years by the newly elected administration.

The vacant fire chief’s job was posted in-house Tuesday.

Draper said the opportunity for current personnel to apply for the fire chief’s job will end Monday.

Draper said he expects in-house candidates to be interviewed by the council Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

At that time, the council could decide to hire someone already employed with the Fire Department or advertise the position publicly.

According to the city’s policy, a vacant city job must be advertised in-house for five days, before it is posted publicly.

According to the job description for the fire chief, a bachelor’s degree in fire science, public administration, business or related field is preferred, but not required.

“The City Manager, Mayor and Council may determine in their discretion that an applicant by virtue of education, training and/or experience possesses the equivalent of any particular job requirement,” the job description states.

The new fire chief is required to have proper state certification as a firefighter I & II, Instructor I & II and proper state certification as an arson investigator.

The new fire chief will oversee the operation of four fire stations with about 40 employees. The salary range is $52,395-$69,909.

Assistant Fire Chief Mike Burdette, currently serving as interim fire chief, said he will apply for the permanent fire chief job.

Contact David Atchison at

© 2012