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Commissioners welcome new fire marshal

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wise County’s new fire marshal is on the job.

Chuck Beard and his wife Melinda were introduced to county commissioners at their regular meeting Monday morning.

“I’m real excited to be here,” he said. “I’ve been in fire service for 28 years and just retired from Weatherford last year. I’m not here to reinvent the wheel or anything. I’m just here to help out.”

Beard and his wife have been married 25 years, and they have two grown daughters, one studying to be a paramedic and one who plans to be a doctor.

They live in Parker County but will be moving to Wise County, as required by the position. The county fire marshal post is a two-year appointment, and the current term started Jan. 1, 2013.

MYSTERIOUS AMBULANCE

Asset Manager Diana Alexander said a representative of the Harker Heights Police Department called last week and said they possess an ambulance that is titled to Wise County.

The discovery was made when the Harker Heights PD was preparing to get rid of it. It’s a 1975 Dodge ambulance that “looks like a military vehicle,” according to Alexander.

Harker Heights is southwest of Waco, near Killeen, and no one is sure how the ambulance ended up at its PD. Alexander said the county has the title, but it wasn’t in the county inventory. Auditor Ann McCuiston said she thinks it “goes back 20 years or so.”

Commissioners approved adding it to the Wise County auction list, and representatives with the Harker Heights PD said the ambulance could remain on site there until it is sold.

CULVERT CONFUSION

Commissioners also engaged in a circular conversation about culverts, and where and how they should be purchased.

There were two issues – the purchase of a culvert in the midst of an emergency and the purchase of a concrete culvert – but details surrounding both were confused, leading to general misunderstanding.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Harry Lamance bought a 50-foot culvert from the county’s designated vendor, Wilson Culverts, in Elkhart. But while his crews were installing it, he realized it wasn’t long enough.

“The road was torn up big-time, and we needed something to get it done pronto,” he said. “Wilson didn’t have a 10-foot extension, so we went to Lowery’s in the event of it being an emergency and (in the interest) of public safety.”

Commissioners approved the purchase as exempt from competitive purchase due to “public calamity” and to “preserve property of the county for public health or safety” as outlined in Local Government Code 262.024.

In the midst of that discussion, the subject of concrete culverts came up. The county has never sought bids for concrete culverts, but Precinct 4 Commissioner Glenn Hughes recently purchased one.

Commissioners’ attorney Thomas Aaberg attempted to explain that they should consider seeking bids for different types of culverts, much like they do for road materials. He was misunderstood by commissioners who thought he was saying all culverts were the same.

By the time the discussion was over, all parties seemed frustrated, but commissioners did agree to re-evaluate re-wording the culvert bid for the next fiscal year.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

Commissioners approved:

  • seeking bids for a sports utility vehicle for the investigator in the county attorney’s office;
  • renewing an annual lease agreement with Rick Woods for aggregate storage on a five-acre tract on County Road 4680;
  • allowing Lamance to declare numerous stumps cleared from county right-of-way as waste;
  • the purchase of a new water truck by Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Burns;
  • seeking requests for proposals for insurance through Stephens Bastian and Cartwright; and
  • seeking bids for the sale of tires.

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