The Newton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) is being recommended to hire Jeffrey L. Monroe, of Five Points, Alabama, as the county’s new fire chief.
Monroe has 35 years of experience in fire services, holding positions ranging from firefighter/paramedic, municipal fire chief and industrial fire chief. According to Monroe’s resume, the Birmingham Southern College graduate with a master in public/private management and Bachelor of Science in fire science has also worked in municipal government as an economic development coordinator.
Monroe is in his third term as a city council member, and is currently a mayor pro tem of Five Points, Alabama.
According to Interim Newton County Manager Lloyd Kerr, Monroe was one of 20 applicants for the position.
Kerr, along with Newton County Human Resources Director Keyra Fray, Chair Keith Ellis, District 1 Commissioner John Douglas and District 5 Commissioner J.C. Henderson, formed a committee to find Newton County’s next fire chief.
The committee selected seven applicants to interview, before getting it down to two for a second interview, and then Monroe. Monroe’s name will go in front of the BOC for hire during its March 15 meeting.
Kerr said he, and the committee, is recommending Monroe due to his range of experience.
“He has more than 30 years in the fire business,” Kerr said. “He has experience working with local governments, as well as being head of a corporate fire department for International Paper.”
Most recently Monroe was the captain of Childersburg, Alabama’s fire department. Prior to that he ran his own company — JMCM Consulting, a group specializing in assisting fire and EMS departments with grant programs. Monroe also was deputy program manager for Homeland Security’s Anniston, Alabama center for domestic preparedness.
“Based on everything that we talked about, he’s had experience working with volunteer fire fighting organizations as well as with career,” Kerr said. “And he’s had quite a bit of experience with hazardous materials.”
Newton County has been seeking a new fire chief since Kevin O’Brien was placed on leave on Oct. 14.
O’Brien was arrested in January for four counts of theft by taking by a government employee. He was indicted after a case involving illegal use of a county purchasing card.
Newton County posted a job opening for fire chief on Nov. 20, with a salary ranging from $75,000-85,000 annually.