There will be changes in the leadership for the West Orange Volunteer Fire Department. West Orange Mayor Roy McDonald made appointments of the Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief during the City Council meeting on Monday.
David Roberts (right) was named the Fire Chief and Simmie Gibson was appointed Assistant Fire Chief by the mayor. Both Roberts and Gibson are new to the West Orange Fire Department having served previously with the Emergency Services District #4 in McLewis.
Mayor McDonald explained his reason for making the changes was the slow growth in the number of active members with the West Orange Volunteer Fire Department. He also pointed out this has resulted in a decrease in attendance at meetings, drills, and most regrettably at fires. “I am appointing experienced very qualified leaders, and I anticipate growth in the department that all citizens can be proud of as well as want to become a member of,” McDonald stated.
The City Council unanimously approved the appointments of Roberts and Gibson. Roberts understands beefing up the membership of the fire department is his primary goal. Roberts replied, “They had a great department to begin with and some of the members fell off, some of them got older and have left. We just need to try to grow some more memberships.”
Roberts indicated the first step may be getting grants to help fund training for new and young volunteers for the department. This he thinks would make them more interested in being first responders.
Two other appointments were Rex Peveto continuing as City Attorney and Carl Thibodeaux to remain the Municipal Judge for West Orange. All four appointees were sworn in by City Secretary Theresa Van Meter.
The City Council renewed the health, vision, and dental insurance coverage for the city employees. The Texas Municipal League Health Benefits Pool will be the provider for fiscal year 2019-2020. McDonald informed the city actually received a decrease in the rates for the same insurance plan.
The city’s Procurement Policy was updated by the council. Public Works Director Mike Stelly said changes were necessary for the purpose of aligning the city’s policy with federal grant guidelines.
Stelly as the Emergency Management Coordinator for West Orange was authorized to execute an interlocal agreement with the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission to provide access to the Emergency Notification System. The regional planning commission is reverting back to the Blackboard system for connecting with municipalities for communication purposes during emergency situations.
In other business, Van Meter was authorized by the City Council to reject any proposals received regarding depository services. She was instructed to re-publish the notice requesting depository services for the city.
A franchise application by Roll Off Transport Services of Port Arthur was approved. This will allow the company to collect solid waste from businesses in West Orange.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-