Parish Council finalizing parish wide fire district

Written by Emily Bell on . Posted in Local

The West Baton Rouge Parish Council has hired an attorney to draft the parish ordinance to consolidate the parish’s six fire sub-districts into one parish-wide fire district by July 1, 2014.

The council hired Dan Garrett, a Baton Rouge attorney who lobbied the fire district legislation which came before the Louisiana state legislature in the spring and which Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law on June 5.

“He has a lot of information already,” Parish President Riley “PeeWee” Berthelot said of the decision to hire Garrett. “Dan Garrett specializes in legislative issues.”

The council also hired Jill Craft, another Baton Rouge attorney, for special legal counsel for the fire district relating to “personnel questions,” Berthelot said.

Their pay, which is hourly and not predetermined, will come out of line items in the budget for professional and legal fees, he said.

The parish municipalities, Addis, Brusly and Port Allen, have also approved resolutions in favor of the consolidation, in addition to cooperative endeavor agreements allowing them to retain temporary control of the fire sub-districts until the parish is ready to take over.

Parish Council Chair Gary Spillman also said during the Aug. 22 parish council meeting that he wants to make very clear that he will not be the fire chief for West Baton Rouge Parish.

Berthelot has said he will eventually appoint one fire chief over the entire parish.

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