The Long County Board of Commissioners still is looking over applicants for the full-time fire-chief job to replace former Chief Richard Truman, who is currently disabled.
The commissioners voted Tuesday evening to approve Gary Fairchild as a part-time paid firefighter with the Ludowici-Long County Volunteer Fire Department during the meeting. Fairchild also is a full-time firefighter on Fort Stewart, according to Long County Assistant Fire Chief Shawn Smith.
“So he’s a big asset to our department,” Smith said.
Waiting for a new chief has been a long process, according to Smith.
“It took a lot more time than what I think any of us thought it would,” he said.
Smith said it has been hard without a chief, and as the assistant chief, the firefighters has been looking to him to lead them.
“The department still runs, even without a chief right now, but we really need a chief to be picked soon,” Smith said.
The commissioners went into executive session toward the end of the meeting for personnel matters. Afterward, Commissioners Chairman Dwight Gordon said they did discuss the fire chief position during that session but had not yet made a decision.
“We’ve got some applicants in, and we will be having a meeting later on, maybe next week, to interview these applicants,” he said Tuesday. “And once we do that, we’ll make a determination on who we want.”
Gordon said there were about seven or eight applicants for the position.
As for what criteria the commissioners are looking for, he said someone with experience and leadership.
“I think, in my opinion, I would like somebody that’s been involved in the volunteer process, a volunteer fireman, stuff like that, because we do have a lot of them and our other firefighters are part-time,” he said. “So I’m looking for somebody that knows a lot about that.”
“It’s been going good now,” Gordon said of the commissioners’ relationship with the fire department. He said he has been working well with Smith during the hiring process since he assumed the interim fire chief role.
And on a final note, Gordon wanted to give a message to the firefighters.
“I would like to say to the firefighters out there, that you’re all doing a great job. We appreciate what y’all doing.”