Commissioners discovered that no Bee County court, within the past 50 years, actually created the position of a county fire marshal despite having one hired for this span or longer.
David Morgan, emergency management coordinator, said that they will need to wait to formally hire James Barrie as the county’s new fire marshal.
“We actually may have gotten the cart before the horse,” Morgan said. “We have not been able to locate where that position has ever been created by this body.”
Local government regulations give commissioners the authority to create the position but requires them to establish the office through an official resolution.
“Going back 50 years, we can find nowhere where this position was created,” Morgan said.
He added that the city, which approved hiring Barrie as the new city fire marshal on Tuesday, created their position in 1953.
The court is expected to rectify the issue during its next meeting.
“Before we can contract with the fire marshal, we have to have the position,” Morgan said.
Despite this setback, Morgan introduced Barrie to the court during the Monday meeting.
“His qualifications are impeccable,” Morgan said.
Barrie, a 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.
Barrie is replacing Kenneth Orrell, who recently announced he was retiring.
Orrell has been the fire marshal for Bee County and the City of Beeville since 2004.
The Legislature made changes to the requirements for those doing inspections which Orrell didn’t have. This was, at least in part, what prompted his decision to retire.
Following a recommendation by Morgan last week, the court approved hiring Barrie on a contract based at the same pay, $150 per month, as Orrell.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.