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Fire chief search nears end

By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Oct. 30, 2003
Meridian's new fire chief is expected to be announced next week, outgoing Chief H.C. "Bunky" Partridge said Wednesday.
Partridge, who is serving as the city's chief administrative officer while Ken Storms is on vacation, will retire as fire chief on Monday to head the city's training center and Department of Homeland Security.
Partridge said Mayor John Robert Smith plans to choose a new chief from among five men in the Meridian Fire Department. Smith was out of town Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.
Partridge said candidates for the job are Sammy Foy, deputy fire chief; Jeff Homan, fire marshal; Tim Miller, a battalion chief; Anthony Clayton, a battalion chief; and Tracy Tucker, an administrative battalion chief.
The new fire chief will oversee a department that includes about 120 firefighters and other city employees. The chief will oversee the department's administration, fire prevention and firefighter training.
Chief candidates
All five candidates have interviewed with the mayor and served as acting chief for at least one week. The mayor's appointment must be confirmed by the Meridian City Council, which meets next at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Partridge has served as the city's fire chief for the past 8 1/2 years. The chief earns an annual salary of about $60,000.
Partridge said he's proud of the direction his department has taken during his tenure and is confident whoever replaces him will continue to follow his lead.
Veteran firefighter
Foy is currently Partridge's second-in-command and has served as deputy chief for eight years. Since Foy joined the department 22 years ago, Partridge said, he has "basically followed me up through the ranks.
Foy said leading the MFD as chief has always been his ultimate goal. He said he remembers a conversation he had with an assistant chief in 1981 about his plans.
Miller said he, too, is ready for the promotion.
Partridge's advice
The other candidates for the job could not be reached for comment. Homan was out of the office working with the fire rating bureau Wednesday. Clayton and Tucker were expected back at work today.
Partridge said the only advice he had for the new fire chief was to be fair and consistent.