New Fire Chief in Vernon

Amid financial troubles and budget cuts, the city of Vernon has a new fire chief.

His name is Marcus Smith and he comes from Port Isabel, Texas.  Chief Smith started his career at the age of 18, so it comes to the new job with around 30 years of experience.  This is one of the reasons why he isn’t concerned about the current situation in the town.  In fact, he is embracing it as a challenge, one that every city goes through.

Monday was his first day on the job and he expressed his excitement for the opportunity.  This comes even with the difficulties or obstacles that might come the departments’ way.

“They had seven maximum staffing and they reduced it to six, which means their not going to fill those positions for now,” Chief Smith said.

So, not only is he the fire chief, he is also the fire marshal, and the assistant chief.  It’s all so the city can save money.

“The city gets most of it’s money from selling water and because of the drought, that hasn’t been a big tax base for sometime from what I understand,” he said.

However, despite the difficulties the Vernon Fire Department might face, Chief Smith has a plan moving forward.

“I’ve actually been involved with larger municipalities that had big hits to their budget and it effects everyone,” he said, “not just the fire department.”

Chief Smith explained every department within the city is feeling the pressure.  Still, the goal is to best serve the citizens of Vernon.  So, the fire department will just make adjustments, like everyone else.

“We can modify the way we attack fires, modify the way we respond to emergencies to have a positive effect on those responsibilities and accomplish our goals with the number of personnel we have on duty,” he said.

They can also get help from other surround fire departments in the area, if need be.

“We help them, they help us and we make it work,” Chief Smith said.

However, right now it’s about getting organized and familiar with the area, which as Chief Smith pointed out, could take a few weeks.

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6