Sulphur Springs City Council Tuesday night voted to eliminate the public safety director position, with one council member voting against the measure.
The city will go back to the prior tradition of having a separate fire chief and separate police chief.
For the fire department, the top officer will be the fire chief/fire marshal. David James was appointed to fill that role.
Jason Ricketson, a longtime officer at Sulphur Springs Police Department who has been serving as interim police chief since March, was officially appointed as the city police chief.
Woodside Lane resident Jay Julian prior to their vote, asked the council to consider the financial impact of having two chiefs, and if the decision was made for a separate chief for each department to at least consider conducting a regional search to find the best candidate for each position.
Councilman Doug Moore pointed out that by having a fire chief/marshal that will make a fire marshal available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to conduct inspections on request for occupancy and other construction needs. Currently, businesses have to wait until a certified person is on duty every third day to conduct the inspections
“I feel like that’s more of a scheduling issue, not a personnel. You need to attempt to work on the scheduling issue,” Julian replied.
The motion to split the top job, with one for each department instead of a public safety director over both, was discussed along with the position of director of utilities by the city council during an executive session held 30 minutes prior to the start of the regular June council meeting.
The motion for two separate chiefs was approved, with Councilman Freddie Taylor casting the lone vote against the proposal.
The council also followed the recommendation of city staff that James Jordan be employed as the city’s utilities director.