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Fire marshal resigns
by Gary Kent
Jul 18, 2012 | 1589 views | 5 5 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
James Barrie, city/ county fire marshal, addresses concerns recently over fire inspection fees to county commissioners. Barrie offered his resignation to the city on Tuesday.
James Barrie, city/ county fire marshal, addresses concerns recently over fire inspection fees to county commissioners. Barrie offered his resignation to the city on Tuesday.
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BEEVILLE — The city will need a new fire marshal after Aug. 31 and, if City Council members have their way, James Barrie will be gone by next week.

City Manager Deborah Ballí asked City Council members to look at a letter of resignation from Fire Marshal James P. Barrie during the meeting.

That came after three business owners complained again about Barrie’s fire inspections.

One woman, who owns a beauty shop, said she was unable to get to her shop for the inspection because of a medical situation. But Barrie called her at home, told her he was there to inspect her business and she needed to be there.

Finally, the woman said, she realized why Barrie wanted him at her shop and asked, “Oh, you need money?”

She told the council that if Barrie had informed her earlier of the fee for the inspection she could have left a check for him.

She said the inspection cost her $75.

Two other business owners expressed concerns over the inspections saying they felt like they were being extorted when Barrie made the inspections and then collected his fee.

“I realized ahead of time that being the new fire marshal was going to be challenging for several reasons,” Barrie said in his letter of resignation. “The position had never been performed to the new state standards, local ordinance nor had it been performed evenly across the board.”

Ballí reminded the council that Barrie’s official resignation date would be Aug. 31. She said she believed that was so he could conduct investigations into any suspicious fires that might happen between now and then.

But when it came time for a motion, Councilman David Carabajal said he would like to move that the city accept Barrie’s resignation immediately.

Other council members, including Mayor Pro Tem Mike Scotten, also wanted the resignation to be immediate. But City Attorney Frank Warner said that would not be possible because the agenda item was worded in such a way that the council had only one option, to accept the resignation as it was until another agenda could be prepared with different wording.

At that point council members asked for the resignation question to be on its next agenda, for the July 24 meeting, so they could take immediate action on it.

“It is with great sadness I am resigning from the position as fire marshal,” Barrie told this newspaper Tuesday afternoon.

“This is a multi-part issue that has separate factors for city and county. The main reasoning is the complete lack of support from both governmental entities with regard to my appointed position.

Barrie said he has a side business that he will be working on to support his family.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
Comments
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teacher454
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July 19, 2012
What a bunch of idiots the folks of the community look like to anyone who has any sense. The man was doing his job, one that the city had him to perform- to protect our community by doing the proper inspections. Have you been inside some the area businesses lately? They are literally death traps- with electrical wire showing, fuses tripping, water leaking, etc.

When something happens, those same people who complain about this poor guy are going to be complaining that the city did not do enough to enforce safety/fire codes.

Mr. Barnnie, I hope you are able to get another job, one that you are appreciated for performing your duties (as assigned). Not all the people in the area are as ignorant and uneducated as those you had to endure in the past.

jb410
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July 19, 2012
It is people like you that made the decision to resign difficult; People that know the City has a dire need for this service, and who supported my position. Thank you for your kind words and support. I will be just fine. :-)

Stay safe.
LittleVoice
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July 18, 2012
When we get a new Fire Marshall maybe he should go and inspect Mr. Barries Buss. for $75.00
jb410
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July 19, 2012
I would be more than accomodating. It's a tax deductible expense that ensures my business is safe to my patrons. :-)
LittleVoice
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July 18, 2012
Mr. Barrie shouldn't feel bad for resigning. He can always go and work for TDCJ and do cell inspections ( cell searches ) and write and inmates up.