Newton County hired its Chief of Fire Services with a unanimous vote by the Board of Commissioners Tuesday.
Jeff Monroe, who will begin his tenure with Newton County Monday, was introduced to the board, citizens and some members of his fire staff at the Newton County Historic Courthouse.
“I appreciate what you have entrusted me with here,” Monroe said. “The fire service of Newton County plays a role in everyone’s lives.”
Monroe has 35 years of experience in fire services, holding positions ranging from firefighter/paramedic, municipal fire chief and industrial fire chief. Monroe graduated from Birmingham Southern College with a Master in public/private management and Bachelor of Science in fire science. He also served as an economic development coordinator and served as a city council member in his hometown of Five Points, Alabama.
Monroe was named the finalist for the position March 4 after a search committee selected seven candidates form a pool of 20, before getting it down to two for a second interview.
Interim County Manager Lloyd Kerr, Human Resources Director Keyra Fray, Chair Keith Ellis, District 1 Commissioner John Douglas and District 5 Commissioner J.C. Henderson formed the committee.
“I was part of the interview process,” said District 1 Commissioner John Douglas. “Jeff did just an outstanding job. He’s got all the experience we’re looking for. I think when Jeff gets to work in our fire department, everybody is going to be happy and satisfied.”
Monroe retired as captain of the Childersburg, Alabama fire department in December, but felt his career wasn’t finished yet.
“I’m looking forward to working with a progressive, growing organization,” Monroe said. “This is a dream to work with organizations for tremendous growth, service deliver, and all those things.”
He said he will begin by evaluating where the department is with its fire protection capabilities, ISO rating and emergency medical service statistics.
“EMS is probably 80 percent of most departments’ jobs,” Monroe said. “We have to look at how we can deliver that, and how we can improve on that delivery.”
Monroe also brings experience working with volunteer fire service departments, something Newton County still has.
“You put a big task on my shoulders,” Monroe said to the board Tuesday. “I thank each and everyone one of you from the bottom of my heart. “