Commission meeting photo

The Trousdale County Commission voted unanimously to approve the appointment of long-time volunteer firefighter Mark Beeler as the interim Trousdale County fire chief as the search for a new chief continues.

At its meeting on Monday night at the Hartsville-Trousdale County Community Center, the Trousdale County Commission unanimously voted to approve the appointment of a new interim fire chief for a term of 60 days, following the resignation of Trousdale County Fire Chief Jay Woodard on Feb. 14.

Mark Beeler, a veteran of the Trousdale County Volunteer Fire Department for more than 30 years, was chosen by Trousdale County Mayor Jack McCall, and pending commission approval, he agreed to fill the position as interim fire chief while the search for a permanent one continues.

Before making an appointment and seeking final approval from the county commission, the mayor met with volunteer firefighters last week to get feedback from the department as they voted on who they wanted to see fill the position as interim chief.

“I met with the all the volunteers of the fire department this past week, seeking to find a consensus among all of our volunteers,” said McCall.

“At the end of the discussion, they voted unanimously to appoint Mark Beeler (as interim fire chief) for a stint of 60 days.”

“There was a really good feeling in the room, and, again, (the firefighters) voted unanimously for Mark Beeler to be the interim chief.”

Before his current appointment as interim chief, Beeler was serving as a safety officer in the department and was formerly the long-time assistant chief, but he stepped back when Jay Woodard was appointed as fire chief. Beeler also served as interim chief for approximately two years prior to his present appointment.

“I was one of the safety officers at this current time,” said Beeler. “I had been assistant chief for a long time. But once the commission chose Mr. Woodard, as a previous high-ranking officer, I chose to step toward the background.”

Although Beeler has been selected as the interim, he says that he is not interested in filling the permanent position as fire chief.

“Mark has been interim chief before,” said McCall. “(He) expressed to the fire department that he was not interested in being the fire chief long term but was willing to come in and settle things down.”

According to McCall, if a new chief has not been selected within 60 days, Beeler’s short-term appointment can be revisited and possibly extended as needed.

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