WBR Council chairman rejects future fire chief role

Gary Spillman, chairman of the West Baton Rouge Parish council, told council members Thursday that he is not going to be the fire chief of the soon-to-be consolidated parish fire department.

“I want to make sure that this is on the record: I, myself, Gary Spillman, will not be the fire chief of West Baton Rouge Parish,” he said. “I don’t want to be the fire chief of West Baton Rouge Parish, but I do want to give all the help that I can possibly give to make the West Baton Rouge fire department one of the best.”

Spillman said he made the comment because there has been a lot of speculation about his role in the parish’s revamped fire department. Spillman retired after 30 years of service with the East Baton Rouge Parish Fire Department, which also helped to fuel rumors, he said.

“But please, let’s get that clear. I will not be the fire chief of West Baton Rouge Parish,” Spillman said.

In another matter related to the consolidation of the parish’s six fire subdistricts, the council approved Parish President Riley “Peewee” Berthelot’s recommendation that attorney Dan Garrett be hired to advise the council during the fire district consolidation process.

Berthelot said Garrett had helped write the West Baton Rouge Parish fire department consolidation law during the 2013 state legislative session.

Other actions included:

The council approved using the legal services of attorney Jill Craft to represent the council in “special circumstances.”

Berthelot reported that residential building permits are on pace to surpass the 2012 permit level. He said the parish issued 163 permits in 2012, but had already reached 127 by the end of July.