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Beard retires as fire marshal; County sets deadline of Jan. 1 for applicants

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, November 22, 2017

After more than four years as the fire marshal for Wise County and nearly 33 in fire service, Chuck Beard is retiring.

Wise County commissioners accepted Beard’s resignation Monday morning. Beard’s last day is Friday.

Beard started with the county in 2013. He’d previously retired from Weatherford in early 2012.

“It was time. It’ll give me more time with my family,” Beard said about his retirement.

“It’s been fun. I’ve met a lot of great people and made a lot of great friends here. There’s a lot of great people here.”

During his tenure as fire marshal, the office has seen an increase in call volume.

“It’s a busy department, and it’s going to continue to get busier with the way the county is growing,” Beard said.

Wise County Judge J.D. Clark thanked Beard for his professionalism and work for the county.

“He’s done a fantastic job for us,” Clark said. “He’s been a great liaison between the local fire departments and the county. He was very thorough in his investigations and put together a good team in that office.”

The county will begin the search for a new fire marshal. The process took a year after Marc Dodd left in April 2012.

Commissioners appointed a candidate screening committee Monday, which includes Clark, Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Burns, Sheriff Lane Akin and office holders from the Wise County Firefighters Association – President Chris Caster, Vice President Sam Hahn and Treasurer Nate Mara.

The committee will review resumes, check references and schedule interviews. The committee will make a recommendation to commissioners.

“It’s up to the [commissioners] court to make the appointment,” Clark said.

Commissioners set a deadline of Jan. 1 for applicants. Clark said the committee could start sifting through the pool of applicants, checking references and scheduling interviews prior to that deadline.

The county will advertise the opening locally and on the state level.

“With Wise County being a growing county and it’s proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth, it’s a good place to work,” Clark said. “I don’t think there will be a lack of interest.”

The fire marshal is responsible for coordinating emergency management and performing fire investigations in the unincorporated areas of the county. It is also their job to inspect county buildings and publicly occupied buildings in the county.

The county is requiring five to 10 years of fire protection, law enforcement or emergency management experience. The hire must also have intermediate or advance firefighter, arson investigator certification along with fire inspector and police officer certification.

Until the county hires a fire marshal, assistant Jeff Doughty will run the operations in the office. Clark said the office will receive assistance from another county investigator.

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