The County Commission approved the appointment of Jay Woodard as the new head of the Volunteer Fire Department during Monday’s meeting.

The 13-7 vote ends a process that took several months and saw one candidate rejected earlier this year amid questions about the interview process. Those voting no Monday were Mary Ann Baker, Ken Buckmaster, Bubba Gregory, Landon Gulley, Richard Johnson, Lonnie Taylor and Steve Whittaker.

“I really look forward to serving the community if y’all vote for me,” Woodard told commissioners prior to the vote.

Woodard, who has served as a captain with the Metro Nashville Fire Department since 2017, was the lone applicant in the second round of interviews. He has been a paid firefighter since 1995 with Nashville and has been a Trousdale County resident for just over three years, he told commissioners. He is a certified instructor by the State of Tennessee and is certified by TEMA as a Hazardous Materials Technician.

“You’re going to be voting on a decorated fire service hero,” said Steve Cross with the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service, who helped set up the interview process for the county. “He has almost 25 years of experience in fire service.”

Asked about his vision for Hartsville’s fire department, Woodard said he wanted to conduct an “evaluation over the next few months on where they’re at as far as personnel, equipment and training.”

Woodard said he would eventually like to cross-train with EMS personnel who are fire qualified, but said he felt improving the current volunteer force was more important. Commissioners voted down in 2019 a proposed merger between the county’s fire and EMS departments.

“We need to move forward before we could get to that point of joining two departments,” he said.

Other appointments approved Monday were the renomination of Bobby Satterfield to a five-year term on the Housing Authority Board, the naming of Leah Verville to the Industrial Development Board and the naming of Heather Bay to the Water Board.

The ID Board and Water Board vacancies were created by the resignation of Mark Beeler from both positions.

Commissioners unanimously adopted the International Code Council’s 2018 residential building codes on second reading. They passed a first vote in October after residential fire sprinklers were removed from the code.

Three re-zonings were approved on first reading and will come back in January, as the Commission traditionally does not meet in December. One rezones a lot on Halltown Road to R-2, the second on Highway 231S to R-1 and the third on Hayes Avenue to R-3.

Six budget amendments were approved:

  • $3,317 for the Senior Center;
  • $21,904 in insurance recovery for damage to the historic courthouse;
  • $8,500 for a CARES Act grant for the Senior Center;
  • $21,050 in line items for the Convenience Center;
  • $300 in uTrust grant funds for the school system; and
  • $13,281 in health grant funding for schools.

Five notaries were approved: Randall Kirby, Johnny Beaver, Shannon Smith, Tracy Belcher and Teresa Dickerson.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

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