MARIANNA — Jackson County Commissioners hired a new Jackson County Fire Rescue chief on Tuesday, but he’s no stranger.
Charles Brunner graduated from Marianna High School and had worked for JCFR for some years before moving on to a Bay County Fire Rescue team, and has also studied at and worked for the Chipola Fire Academy. He will graduate college soon with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He starts at a salary of $57,349.
The hire will now allow Jackson County Correctional Facility Chief Mark Foreman to return to his duties there full-time – he’d served several months as the interim fire rescue chief. On Tuesday, County Administrator Wilanne Daniels spoke words of praise for Foreman’s leadership in taking on the fire/rescue job temporarily, and board Chairman Clint Pate presented him a plaque of appreciation.
Foreman on Tuesday also finished up two pieces of business related to Fire Rescue before turning over the reins-he asked and got approval to seek an emergency medical services grant of $13,546 to buy a rescue tool, called a spreader, to enhance EMS services in the county.
And Foreman also successfully put forward his recommendation to continue inter-local agreements with volunteer fire departments and the City of Marianna’s Fire Rescue department. Marianna will get $52,000; each county volunteer unit will get 20,000 – with the exception of the combined Malone/Bascom unit, which will get $40,000 – and outlying responders from other counties who help out from time to time will get $1,500 each. Those teams include crews from Nettle Ridge, Mossy Pond, as well as Chipley in Washington County, and Altha in Calhoun County.
In other news from Tuesday’s county meeting:
-Commissioners extended the amount of time they will allow people to live in RVs that are not within areas typically designated for RV occupancy. The county, in light of Hurricane Michael, had agreed to allow those in undesignated areas for 180 days. On Tuesday, they extended the time allowed to 18 months.
-The board re-instated an employee benefit element that they’d let expire in October because of little use. But given the difficulties faced by many workers in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, and because employees were showing more interest in it, the board moved $5,000 from contingency to cover the benefit — the Employee Assistance Program that provides primarily counseling services for themselves and their family members through, in this case, Life Management Inc.
-Commissioners renewed/reaffirmed an action taken by a board that was in office back in 1919. The board back then, and the board on Tuesday, gave authorization for the erection of a monument on the Jackson County Courthouse grounds, to honor the service of African American soldiers in World War I. The monument was never placed, but a new effort is underway to make it happen. It’s led by Curley Spires-Potter, who is a descendant of soldier Armstrong Purdee, a WW II solider who is also believed to be the first African American lawyer to practice in Jackson County. Spires-Potter said she will be establishing a non-profit organization to raise funds for the monument, which will be presented to the board for final approval once it is designed. Commissioners asked that it be of a style consistent with the other monuments to military personnel which occupy the courthouse grounds.