Commissioners Appoint Fire Marshal

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – The Houston County Commissioners Court appointed a County Fire Marshal during its most recent session held on Tuesday, Nov.9. In addition, the court also approved recommendations from the Human Resources Committee concerning the quarantine policy for peace officers and detention officers.

After taking care of routine matters during the first part of the meeting, the commissioners were tasked with appointing a County Fire Marshal.

“Our Emergency Management Coordinator, Heath Murff, is with us today and has completed all the necessary training. The floor is now open for nominations for our Fire Marshal,” County Judge Jim Lovell informed the court.

With very little discussion, a motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved to appoint Murff as the County Fire Marshal.

The next item on the agenda concerned the quarantine policy for fire fighters, peace officers, detention officers and emergency medical technicians.

Executive Assistant and HR Chair Jan Pigford said, “I would like to thank our County Attorney (Daphne Session) for working real hard on this. She is a member of the HR Committee and was the one mainly working on the policy for us.”

The policy states,”Pursuant to Local Government Code, Chapter 180, Section 180.008, Houston County shall provide paid quarantine for fire fighters, peace officers, detention officers and emergency medical technicians who are employed by, appointed by, or elected for Houston County and ordered to quarantine or isolate due to a possible or known exposure to a communicable disease while on duty.”

The policy further states, “Quarantine and isolation may be ordered by the Elected Official for the employee or the health authority of Houston County. Eligible employees who are on paid leave shall receive all employment benefits and compensation, including leave accrual, pension benefits and health benefits for the duration of the leave; and if applicable, shall be reimbursed for reasonable costs related to the quarantine, including lodging, medical and transportation.”

The policy also addresses an employee who fails to quarantine or isolate as ordered, stating the employee “… shall not receive paid leave and is subject to disciplinary action.”

A motion to adopt the policy was passed unanimously.

In other matters brought before the court:  

  • The commissioners approved the minutes from previous meetings.
  • The payment of bills and expenses incurred by the county was approved.
  • The Houston County Treasurer’s, Environmental Service and Community Service reports were received as information by the court.
  • The court approved salaries for new and/or transfer employees.
  • The commissioners approved a budget amendment and transfer from the General Fund Contingency to Road and Bridge Precinct 1 for improvements to the barn/office building.
  • Votes from the Nov. 2 Constitutional Amendment Election were canvassed by the commissioners.
  • The Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Indigent Defense Expense Report was received as information by the court.
  • A FY 2022 contract extension with DETCOG for the Home Delivered Meal Program and Senior Citizens Center Grant through Dec. 31, 2021 was approved by the court. 

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].   

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