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Town adds fire prevention staff position

Ruth Hawk, Town community development director, pushed for additional personnel in her department at the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, Thursday, Nov. 6.

Hawk presented the Board with a contract with Rural Metro for additional fire prevention and public fire education services.

Dan Johnson, Town fire marshal, is the Rural Metro liaison for the Town, providing fire code inspections and fire safety education to the community.

Hawk cited increasing commercial growth, including 45 commercial permits in 2008, as the reason for needing additional help.

Kroger, Ingles, Best Buy, JCPenney, Gander Mountain, all of these are very large and expensive with regards to commercial plans review and also in regard to … inspections and work in the field,” Hawk said.

Although Johnson is Town fire marshal, he is employed by Rural Metro, which requires him to devote at least 75 percent of his time to work for the Town. Hawk said he often uses more than that.

“Needless to say, we have absconded almost all of Dan Johnson’s time,” Hawk said.

“Rural Metro has been very gracious in letting that occur. In 2009, the contract [with Rural Metro] expires, and we felt it was necessary to enter into a supplementary agreement,” she added.

The “supplementary” contract requests that Rural Metro provide the Town with an individual to assist Johnson in his fire prevention and public education duties for no more than 10 hours a week.

“With Downtown Farragut, additional activity at Kroger, the Outlet Drive extension, the remainder of Parkside Drive, also with the Ingles, we do not anticipate [commercial] activity to go down,” Hawk said.

Hawk was careful to say the agreement with Rural Metro does not mandate that extra personnel be available for Town use.

“It’s just there if we need it, in case we do see a slow down of growth,” Hawk said.

The Board unanimously approved the contract.

“We are very appreciative that [Rural Metro] has been more than understanding with our using so much of their time,” Hawk said.


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