April 2, 2014 10:49:52 AM
Columbus Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief Martin Andrews was named the department's interim chief Tuesday.
City councilmen approved the personnel shift, increasing Andrews' salary from $56,992 to $60,000. Andrews had been leading the department after Columbus Mayor Robert Smith announced the retirement of CF&R Chief Kenneth Moore on March 18. Moore had led the department since 2005. Under Moore's leadership, CF&R became the first fire department in Mississippi to receive national accreditation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. His official last day was Monday.
City attorney Jeff Turnage said the recruitment process for a permanent fire chief will first be held internally. If city councilmen agree to promote from within, there will be no further search.
Andrews said he wants to maintain continuity within the fire department and build on its success.
"I want to keep the process of growing in mind and move toward the future to try to make this one of the best fire departments in the nation," he said. "We already are, but we want to keep improving on that to make sure we never have the possibility of backsliding in offering our citizens any less safety than we're capable of doing."
Andrews has been with Columbus Fire and Rescue since 1987. Last year, he graduated from the Mississippi Certified Public Managers course, which requires at least 300 hours of training.
The unanimous vote for his promotion took place during executive session. During that session, councilmen also heard personnel matters regarding Columbus Police Department and the public works department. The only action taken was to extend the Family and Medical Leave Act leave period 12 weeks for a public works employee, but they voted to purchase 16 GPS systems for public works personnel after going back into open session.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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