WBR Council to vote Jan. 23 on authorizing fire chief selection

The West Baton Rouge Parish Council will hold a public hearing and vote its Jan. 23 meeting on an ordinance allowing Parish President Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot to appoint the parish’s first fire chief.

The Parish Council will then vote at its first meeting in February whether to ratify Berthelot’s choice.

Creation of the fire chief post is necessary step in the parish’s ongoing effort to consolidate its six fire subdistricts into one parishwide operation by July 1.

Since June, the parish has worked on merging separate fire subdistricts in Port Allen, Addis, Brusly, Lobdell, Erwinville and Rosehill as the solution to a two-year fight among parish officials concerning the distribution of more than $2 million in annual revenue from the parish’s fire protection sales tax.

Four candidates have already been interviewed for the fire chief position: Port Allen Fire Chief Rick Boudreaux, Port Allen Assistant Fire Chief Charles Stephens and firefighters Gerald Mann and Kenny Hunts from fire departments in Port Allen and Brusly, respectively.