Chief search drawing to close

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 31, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The search for a new fire chief could be over as early as late next week, Mayor Cecil Williamson said yesterday.

The application deadline is Friday, after which time the city&8217;s Personnel Committee will meet to discuss and interview candidates.

Williamson said three people have applied for the position so far. Of those, one is from within the city. Williamson said former interim chief and now Capt. Tommy Tate has yet to resubmit his application.

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Tate, who could not be reached for comment, was offered the job earlier this year after being name interim chief in December following the departure of former Chief George Davenport. He turned it down after salary negotiations were unfruitful.

The negotiations over salary came when the Finance Committee made Tate an initial offer of $50,000. Since that time, Williamson has said that Tate turned down the job. He disputes that characterization.

Williamson said yesterday that as of now Tate has not submitted an application and is not among the candidates to be considered.

The Finance Committee set the cap on the original salary range at $45,000. Williamson said it has now been expanded to $50,000, &8220;negotiable with experience.&8221;

As a captain, Tate made $48,000 in 2006 with a base salary of $44,500 plus overtime. As interim chief, he was drawing a salary of $48,000 annually.

Tate said he went back to shift work so he could return to his part-time job. He said he has worked two jobs for 17 years.

Tate said he initially asked for $62,000 for the position. During salary negotiations, he said he was willing to take $58,000.

Williamson said she did not know when the final decision would be made. The city council meets a week from tonight. If the Personnel Committee makes a recommendation by that time, a new chief could be chosen then.