Marshal comes under fire
by Jason Collins
May 12, 2012 | 2364 views | 5 5 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
James Barrie
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BEEVILLE – Commissioners plan to take a second look at the operations of the county fire marshal following complaints from businesses about not only the fees being charged but the gun on his hip.

Commissioner Eloy Rodriguez said that he requested the court look at the position after he received complaints from several businesses owners who felt intimidated by Beeville and Bee County Fire Marshal James Barrie

“We have had a lot of concerns with the business owners,” Rodriguez said.

At issue are the fees being charged by Barrie, a licensed peace officer, and his carrying a sidearm.

“I think it is kind of intimidating. To some people he might be a bit scary,” Rodriguez said.

“I don’t think we want to get rid of the guy. I just think I want him to understand that he may have been going about it the wrong way.”

Barrie said that many of the misunderstandings about his actions could have been solved by a phone call to his office.

He said that as an investigator, he is sworn to protect the public and as a peace officer, he needs to wear a firearm.

“I could walk in any time on someone getting robbed,” Barrie said.

The fees he charges, he said, run the office.

“I am an independent contractor. I have to run my own office,” he said.

The fees also go to fund the other duties of the position.

“Part of my job is also public education and to further public education in the schools which is lacking,” Barrie said.

He added that he would be open to having the position as a full-time job of the county or city as it would also make it easier to get grants.

Commissioners hired Barrie about two months ago to fill the position left vacant by Kenneth Orrell, who retired.

About a month ago, Barrie announced in this paper that he would begin inspections.

“The appointment of a new fire marshal means getting up to standards for the city and county,” Barrie said at the time. “Per current state laws, it is the responsibility of the fire marshal’s office to conduct annual fire code and life safety inspections on all commercial occupancies.”

According to Barrie, the fees, published at the time in this paper, for inspections is based upon the type of business.

• Foster care/child care homes is $50

• Non-hazard occupancies is $75

• Hazardous occupancies are $100-250.

Rodriguez said he doesn’t have all the answers, such as if the inspections are required, which is why he is asking the court to look again at the position. The commissioner said he has received information that contradicts what he was previously told by Barrie.

A copy of Monday’s court agenda was released late Thursday.

Rodriguez stressed that he wasn’t calling to have the fire marshal removed.

“It is more that we want to clarify some things,” Rodriguez said, “the fees, the weapon, the money that is not coming to the county.”

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May 14, 2012
From what I read, the fees are only paid once a year. If the amounts that are listed are too costly for businesses to pay once a year, then maybe they should not be in business. It is a law to be up-to-code.

(“I think it is kind of intimidating. To some people he might be a bit scary,” Rodriguez said.) - when talking about his sidearm.

That is the life saving tool of his profession. He is entrusted and trained to carry said life saving tool. If there was a situation that called for him to protect innocents, he is the one who would have to live with the fact that he could not because it intimidated business owners in the past for him (licensed peace officer) to carry a sidearm.

I have never heard of him entering an establishment, wielding his sidearm in a threatening manner, demanding a 75 dollar ANNUAL fire inspection fee. Why are we trying to vilify a professional who is only trying to show the rest of the state that the businesses in this County are abiding by state law?

Let us make sure we are seeing who is holding the spoon that is feeding us this information. Are the same people who put him in the position trying to terminate him because a a bump in the road? Can we not get back to the time when we were for law enforcement. These guys (peace officer) are doing a full-time job with just above a part-time salary while part-time decision makers are doing well with full-time salaries.
May 12, 2012
Here we go again! Be careful Mr. Barrie. These old buzzards do not like change and they certainly do not embrace outsiders. How unfortunate for a community with so much potential.
May 12, 2012
Fees? What about all the fee's Rodriguez caused the county and taxpayers for his sexual harassment suit?

Well, maybe he should give up his salary until it's all repaid. Then he can talk about fee's.
May 15, 2012
thats what the commissioners should do , give up there pay for one year to help the different departments,, including Mr.Barry's . Rodriguez is a Hippocratic, calling hispanic..saying acting like his someone, but deep down his just a beeville westside mexican agreeing with the white boy Dewitt who a prejudice old fart to get one or two votes from the older crowd as Salazar falls directly behind his lead.. we need leaders. not followers! Vote these Turds out.
May 15, 2012
let me add one more thing about the insanity that is commissioners court.. they did not have the research they needed, they did not know the law, their own policy, and can't read. they are trying to interpret the law to benefit them. as for a weapon and who gets intimidated. ONLY THOSE WHO HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE GET INTIMIDATED. we are built on a nation that has the RIGHT to bear arms and our LAW ENFORCEMENT should be able to carry anywhere to protect me and the community it serves. goes to show you the sheep and the Wolves. please read Texas Code of Criminal Procedures article 2.12. WHO ARE PEACE OFFICERS. fire marshal is clear a Peace officer ,and by not allowing or wanting to discuss the way an officer goes out of his way to serve and protect and you want to restrict him from carrying a weapon..HOPE your ready for a law suit if something happens in his presence or view, and or he get injuried or dies as a result of a county gov body limiting him from carrying a weapon. that would just be BAD for all. guess they just want him to wake around with a pen and paper , and hope his job gets done, which once done they can publicly say its not done to the standard they want and FLIP FLOP again as Rodriguez and Salazar do.. year after year!