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Fire marshal position flawed from start in design
by Jeff Latcham
Jul 20, 2012 | 811 views | 1 1 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As the saga of the Beeville-Bee County fire marshal winds down with the resignation of James Barrie this week, the idea of a fire marshal should not walk out the door with Barrie.

Nor should Barrie shoulder all the criticism of the controversial position in which he found himself.

The commissioners court and the city council must accept a healthy dose of blame in this because they just didn’t fully think through the arrangement before signing off on it.

It’s unimaginable for any government to hire law enforcement officers with an agreement that they can collect fines or speeding tickets on the spot and pocket the money in lieu of a paycheck. Without limits. Without the governing entity managing those funds collected.

In straight commission sales, it’s called, “Eat what you kill.” It’s not a model seen in government probably since England stopped licensing buccaneers to raid Spanish galleons.

There’s no wonder that businesses resented the fire marshal arrangement as designed here.

That, however, doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for a fire marshal and a good use for one in an office properly structured with a reasonable fee schedule that reflects the financial realities of this market. Barrie had said his fee structure was modeled after Kerrville and Kerr County, which has more than twice the per capita income with nearly double the population of Bee.

Should the county and city decide to revisit the position, for which there probably is a growing need, they should fund it themselves, set the appropriate fees and collect those and fines, pay the position as they would any other and set some parameters within the law with the input from businesses and the electorate.

In short, the fire marshal position as designed this first time was poorly structured and didn’t pass the public’s inspection.

– Jeff Latcham
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polarbob1
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July 20, 2012
Nice editorial comment ed.

Help promote the lynchmob mentality with biased abuse of your own media tool. Watch a small handfull of bigotted zealots (yes Armando-that's you in the mirror) publicly interpret the law for your readers in the court of public opinion and stick the noose around the guys neck while "Pimpo" as one of your respondants called him and the other spineless council members who created this mess get to skate through the election cycle unscathed. In the meantime,a dedicated peace officer,firefighter and public servant loses hus job and his home.

THEN you ride in on your shiney white steed and put the blame where it belongs?

I want to own a newspaper.Only my ed. column would be administered with a small amount more responsibility to its readership and the community and a lot more guts and conviction.

And to the readers in Bee County who have followed this trail- seperate the whet from the chaff come election day. The Chicago Mobster element has to be voted out-not lynched by 2 or 3 bigotted zealots who want to interpret the law FOR YOU.