SYLACAUGA, Ala. – After eleven months of serving as interim fire chief, Adam Gardner is officially the next fire chief of the City of Sylacauga.

The 4-1 vote (District 5 Councilman Dallas Davenport voted ‘no’) did not happen without contentious discussions regarding what to pay Gardner. At the last council meeting on Jan. 4, the council remained in compensation deliberations about the position. On Tuesday night, the majority of the council agreed in the work session Gardner’s pay would start at $72,440 with an expected step raise every two years.

Gardner said the department is on the right path by recently hiring three firefighters with three more to hire down the line. “We have some part time guys and have to fill positions, but once we get fully-staffed, we’ll be headed in the right direction to maintain our ISO rating, on our training, hydrants, records. We have a lot of stuff we have to catch up on.” Gardner said the main goal is to maintain the city’s ISO (Insurance Service Office) rating at a 4.

“I’m not a micro-manager and won’t be a micro-manager,” said Gardner. The veteran firefighter said several policies will be revised when he officially starts serving in the chief role.

“Congratulations to Adam on becoming fire chief,” said District 1 Councilman Ashton Fowler. “We all appreciate it and thank you for the job you are doing.”

“I think Adam would be a good fire chief but I do not agree with him making more [than the police chief],” said Davenport, a former law enforcement officer. “The chief of police has 41 people that he’s responsible for and a lot more liability. The fire department has around 20 that he is responsible for. I just don’t feel like he should start out above somebody else — the rule says Grade 3 is where you start out. He’s starting out on Grade 5.” Davenport said both Police Chief Kelley Johnson and Gardner have about the same experience in their respective fields. Gardner has been on the Sylacauga Fire Department for 24 years and was promoted to Lieutenant in 2000. Johnson has been in law enforcement for more than 23 years and chief for a little more than two years.

Sondra Epperson addressed the council at the end of the meeting expressing her gratitude Gardner is the next chief. She said it did not seem fair to compare the police chief’s salary with the fire chief’s salary when both positions carry different responsibilities, skills, and training. “It would be a great disservice to but them in the same basket,” she said.

The Council also voted on the following items:

  • Adopted ordinance authorizing a redevelopment/reimbursement agreement with Second Street of Sylacauga, LLC and authorizing the related warrant. (5-0)
  • Approved resolution setting date for public hearing to consider request for rezoning of property located at 500 East Ft. Williams St. from M-1 (manufacturing light industry) to M-2 (manufacturing general industry). First available date for public hearing is Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. (5-0)
  • Approved resolution approving the purchase of new Stationary Breathing Air Compressor Station for Fire Department from Emergency Equipment Professionals, Inc. at the low bid price of $39,850.00. (5-0)
  • Accepted proposal from Kellis Vegetation Management, Inc. for fire any control treatment on approximately eight (8) acres of runway areas at the Sylacauga Municipal Airport Lee Merkel Field totaling $1,200.00. (5-0)
  • Approved purchase of Air Curtain Burner, Model S-220, from Air Burners, Inc., in the amount of $117,527.00. City attorney as verified that vendor is a sole-source vendor; purchase to be paid with bond proceeds. (5-0)
  • Accepted recommendation from Police Chief Kelley Johnson to extend the six-month probation period for Officer Kyle Smith for an additional three months. (5-0)
  • Accepted recommendation from Interim Fire Chief Adam Gardner to hire Robert Osbourn at Pay Grade PSF-1, Step 1, retroactive to Dec. 11, 2017 due, to qualifications and prior firefighter certification. (5-0)
  • Approved travel/expenses for HR Specialist Jayne McGee to attend Legal Foundation of Risk Management to be held in Montgomery – Feb. 23, 2018 – Registration fee is $150.00; additional costs for meal and mileage will be incurred. Estimated total cost of travel/training for McGee is $235.20. (5-0)
  • Approved Police SRO David Kimbrough to attend the TASSRO Training Conference (Advanced SRO) to be held in Orange Beach, Ala., June 3-8, 2018 – Registration fee is $395.00; additional costs for lodging, meals, and fuel for a city vehicle will be incurred. Estimated total cost of travel/training for Kimbrough is $1,909.75 to be paid from SRO funds. (4-1 – Davenport voted “no.”)
  • Approved Police Lt. Renea Cummings to attend the TASSRO Training Conference (Supervisor SRO) to be held in Orange Beach, Ala., June 3-8, 2018 – Registration fee is $395.00; additional costs for lodging, meals, and fuel for a city vehicle will be incurred. Estimated total cost of travel/training for Cummings is $1,909.75 to be paid from SRO funds. (4-1 – Davenport voted “no.”)
  • Approved Police SRO Harry Brown to attend the TASSRO Training Conference to be held in Orange Beach, Ala., June 3-8, 2018 – Registration fee is $200.00; additional costs for lodging, meals, and fuel for a city vehicle will be incurred. Estimated total cost of travel/training for Brown is $1,714.75 to be paid from SRO funds. (4-1 – Davenport voted “no.”)
  • Promoted Adam Gardner as the Fire Chief. (4-1 – Davenport voted “no.”)
  • Approved travel/expenses for Firefighter Nate Osgood to attend the ISO class in Tuscaloosa – Feb. 6, 2018 – no registration fee; Osgood is requesting 12 hours off with pay and use of a city vehicle for travel to training. (5-0)
  • Approved travel/expenses for Interim Fire Chief Adam Gardner to attend the ISO class in Tuscaloosa – Feb. 6, 2018 – no registration fee; Gardner is requesting 12 hours off with pay and use of a city vehicle for travel to training. (5-0)
  • Approved travel/expenses for Firefighter Hyle McCollum to attend Fire Inspector II class in Westover – Feb. 5-9, 2018 – no registration fee; McCollum is requesting 24 hours off with pay and use of a city vehicle for travel to training. (5-0)
  • Approve travel/expenses for Firefighters Nate Osgood to attend Fire Inspection II class in Westover – Feb. 5-9, 2018 – no registration fee; Osgood is requesting 24 hours off with pay and use of a city vehicle for travel to training. (5-0)
  • Authorized payments totaling $570,782.47 for payrolls for Dec. 2017. (5-0)
  • Authorized payments totalling $392,796.33 for balance of accounts payable invoices received for Dec. 2017. (5-0)

 

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