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Putnam Commissioners Accept Jeff Hicks As New Fire Chief

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam Commissioners Accept Jeff Hicks As New Fire Chief

Putnam County Commissioners ratified Mayor Randy Porter’s appointment of Jeff Hicks as new Putnam County Fire Chief Monday night.

Current Chief Tom Brown is retiring after serving Putnam County 31 years, seven of those as Fire chief. Hicks said Brown has been a great leader and a great friend, and he plans to work just as hard as he watched Brown work for years.

“It’s not like something’s happened and he’s been removed from office,” Hicks said. “This man’s been a servant of the community, of this community for 31 years, so like I said, he left some big shoes to fill and it’s just a huge honor that I was his pick, and Randy’s pick too.”

Porter said Hicks has been groomed for this position for several years. Hicks started with the department as a volunteer in 2000. He has been a full-time firefighter in Putnam County for a decade and was promoted to captain in 2017.

“One of the things I started back in 2014 when I came into office was a succession plan,” Porter said. “Making sure that we’ve got an assistant director in every department that knows how to do everything and that if something was to happen to the director, could step into that position. Tom is the living example of anything can happen any time.”

Porter said Brown has likely seen more change in the department during his tenure than any chief before him. He said Brown battled cancer for several years of his time as Fire Chief, and Putnam County owes him a great deal of gratitude for serving the county even under those trying circumstances.

Commissioner Ken Hall said he would hate to lose Brown on the County Disaster Team, but he could not imagine a better replacement. Hicks said he looks forward to picking up right where Brown left off.

“Hopefully, giving back more to my community and being able to guide the ship that Tom has started on its voyage,” Hicks said.

In other business, the Commission authorized the sale of .34 of an acre on East Veterans Drive at the old stockyard property. Waymon Hale was the lone bidder for the property and will purchase it for $260,000. Hale wants to develop the property and currently has three businesses interested.

“My thing is if we can bring in new businesses, that little three-tenths of an acre really doesn’t mean anything to us, but that helps bring in new businesses with more sales tax dollars and so forth,” Porter said. “We’re always trying to bring in new jobs and new businesses, so I think this will be a good deal for us.”

The Commission also approved an amendment to the Automatic Aid Agreement between Putnam and Cumberland County. The amendment states that the fire chief of the county where the fire is located will have control of the scene while firefighters are responding to a fire.


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