Richard Phillips is hired as county’s new full-time fire chief, begins work Jan. 1

The Grady County Commission has hired Richard Phillips as the new full-time county fire chief.
Commissioners unanimously approved Phillips’ hiring following a brief closed door session Tuesday morning.
The fire chief position replaces the part-time Volunteer Fire Department coordinator position that was held by veteran volunteer fire chief Wayne Hadden who is stepping down at the end of the year.
The county advertised the new position and, according to Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar, Phillips was the lone applicant for the job.
Phillips, who is currently the only paid fireman and has operated the county’s rescue truck since 2010 and who is also the chief of the Spence VFD station, will take over his new role on January 1. He will be paid a salary of $39,124.
Tobar recommended elimination of the part-time position and creation of a full-time fire chief post in the months after Hadden’s announcement of his retirement.
“The bottom line is someone needs to be in charge and it needs to be a full-time county employee who reports to me so that I can make sure he/she is executing the goals of this board,” Tobar said in June.
Phillips has been involved with the VFD for 23 years and serves as the department’s training officer.
According to Tobar, Phillips will continue to operate the rescue truck 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays and volunteers will man it after hours and on weekends.
In addition, Phillips will be required to manage the day-to-day operations of the fire department, prepare operating and capital budgets, and maintain positive working relationships with the volunteer chiefs of the 10 volunteer fire stations.
Tobar said this week that during his previous discussions with Hadden and the other county chiefs it was “clear” that Phillips was the “lone qualified candidate in the county.”
“It was also clear that their (the chiefs) preference was to work alongside someone they knew and trusted,” Tobar said.
The county administrator added, “I have worked closely with Richard for one and a half years now and based on his qualifications, excellent attitude and excellent work ethic he is the best person for this position. He has shown me that he is an excellent leader.”
Phillips will relinquish his role as Spence chief effective Jan. 1.

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