During this past Monday’s meeting, commissioners accepted the resignation of Orrell.
“Kenneth has been the fire marshal for Bee County and the City of Beeville since 2004,” said David Morgan, emergency management coordinator for the county.
However, he said, the state Legislature made changes to the requirements of who could investigate a fire, Morgan said.
“Mr. Orrell was not certified under the new requirements,” Morgan said, adding that Orrell opted to step down from his position with the county. “He also reigned as the city fire marshal.”
DeWitt praised Orrell’s service to the county and his dedication to the work he did.
“I think this is a retirement, not a resignation,” DeWitt said.
Morgan chimed in, “He said he was tired.”
Following a recommendation by Morgan, the court approved hiring Barrie on a contract based at the same pay, $150 per month, as Orrell.
“I have talked with the city manager,” Morgan said. “The city manager is prepared to recommend someone — James Barrie.
“ He is going to be recommended to the city council at their meeting on the 28th.”
Morgan said that it would be advantageous if both the city and the county had the same fire marshal.
“The primary reason being there would be no jurisdictional issues,” Morgan said. “To me it makes sense.”
County Judge David Silva said, “I spoke with our city manager and he wanted to make sure we wanted to move in that direction.”
Morgan added that Barrie has all the required qualifications and more for the job.
“He is a commissioned peace officer,” he added. “He is a constable appointed in Bee County as well.
“This would be another hat as well.
The Houston native earned an associate’s degree in fire science at Lone Star College in 2007 and also completed the college’s police academy, becoming a certified peace officer.
Commissioner Eloy Rodriguez seemed to echo the thoughts of the other commissioners who all voted in favor of hiring Barrie on a contract basis. “The gentleman really impressed me,” Rodriguez said. “His credentials are all there.
“He had some great ideas on grants. I think he will bring us into the 21st century with his ideas.”
In other news, commissioners:
• received another oil well check this time even higher than the last.
This check, from Welder Exploration, amounted to $6,146.98. Silva opened the check moments after the commissioners court concluded its Monday meeting.
Their last check, received about three months ago, amount to $5,973.73.
This money is from royalties on a well on property next to the Bee County Expo Center.
The month prior, the commissioners received their first check of $233.
• set a public hearing for March 12 at 10 a.m. to discuss the speed limits on Coley Road.
• authorized Community Affairs Director Ron Fritz to pursue a grant from the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for the Veterans Assistance Program. These funds will go directly to veterans and their families for spouses to assist in paying mortgage and rent, utilities, food and transportation in an emergency.
• distributed funds from the Bee County Permanent School Fund to Skidmore-Tynan, Pettus and Beeville ISDs.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.