Fire chief's pay raise rescinded

By By Fredie Carmichael/staff writer
Feb. 27, 2002
Mayor John Robert Smith said Tuesday an $8,000 pay raise awarded to Meridian Fire Chief Bunky Partridge was rescinded last month because Partridge is now being paid directly by a nonprofit group developing a regional training center.
Smith said the raise from city funds was no longer warranted because Partridge has a contract and is being paid by Triple I Corp. for his work with a regional training center.
Partridge was given the raise last October and his annual city salary went to $62,329 from $54,329. Two different stories on why the chief got the additional money soon surfaced one saying he had assumed additional duties and another saying he had been offered a job in Hattiesburg and Meridian officials wanted him to remain in Meridian.
Smith said Partridge was first given the extra money for his additional duties involved in the training center managed by Triple I, which is leasing the facility from the city.
Over the past few years, Smith said, Partridge has put in many extra hours in building the training center from scratch.
And, Smith said, Partridge was instrumental in the early development stages of the center, "before Triple I even existed."
Meridian firefighters have complained to the mayor and council that Partridge received a pay raise when rank-and-file firefighters and other city employees did not.