City cuts new fire chief's salary

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By Jeff M. Hardison

Chiefland Mayor M. Teal Pomeroy cut the annual salary of Fire Chief John Ward by $500 a year to start, in contrast with what the city paid him as interim chief.

For the first six months, Ward?s annual salary will be $41,000.

As interim chief, it was $41,500 per year, which was former Fire Chief David Burnett's salary. Pomeroy said Ward lacks the fire inspector credentials held by Burnett.

After six months, the new chief's work will be reviewed. He is scheduled to take five classes at the State Fire College in Ocala to earn the fire inspector certification as soon as possible.

Ward was hired after Vice Mayor Teresa Barron said he "is definitely our man." Barron is the commission's liaison to the fire department.

A motion by Commissioner W.S. "Sammy" Cason, seconded by Commissioner J. Rollin Hudson Jr. brought a unanimous vote of approval to hire Ward. After Pomeroy's cost-cutting action, a motion by Barron, seconded by Cason led to approval of the contract. Ward's accrual of vacation time is retroactive to the day when he started as interim chief.