Harris to see another year as fire chief

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

Chiefland’s fire chief is set for another year of saving lives and battling blazes.

“I want to say I appreciate the chief’s hard work,” Vice Mayor Teresa Barron said at James Harris’ annual performance review and contract negotiation. Harris and city fire fighters and emergency personnel work hard to carry themselves in a professional manner, she said. “They all give 110 percent … and it’s because of leadership.”

Barron, at 215.2 points, gave Harris his highest marks on his evaluation, as well as written comments praising him for his performance. Commissioner Betty Walker gave Harris his lowest rating at 150 points, adding no written comments in his evaluation or in person Monday night.

Commissioner Chris Jones, while not commenting at the meeting, wrote that Harris performs his job well and has built solid relations with fellow firefighters, though, he added, “Mr. Harris has become a little too personal with his opposition to Levy County’s funding and relations toward the city.” Jones scored Harris at 159 points.

Mayor Teal Pomeroy said Chiefland Fire Rescue comes across as professional in appearance and has been good with response times to emergencies. He scored Harris at 156 points.

Commissioner Rollin Hudson, who gave Harris 164 points, said the department was doing a good job, which, among other things, has helped keep the city’s ISO rating in good standing, which helps keep property insurance rates lower.

“We’re as good as we’re gonna’ get with what we got,” Harris said in response. “Manpower is what it takes” to make the rating even better.

Pomeroy asked Harris if he had any questions about his contract with the city, which keeps the chief at his same salary of $51,680.08.

“My contract is fine the way it is,” Harris said, shortly before the commission unanimously approved Harris for another year.