WCESD Commissioners hire McAdams as Fire Chief

Mark McAdams named WCESD#4 Fire Chief.

Interim Fire Chief Mark McAdams was named permanent Fire Chief for the Williamson County Emergency Services District #4 following an executive session of the Board of Commissioners April 19.

The Board voted unanimously to name McAdams to the position, and authorized Board President Dean Andrews to negotiate the terms of his employment, which becomes effective May 1. Andrews said McAdams will not be given an employment contract.

Because the salary terms have not been negotiated yet, Andrews would not release them Thursday. However, he said the salary will be competitive with other neighboring fire departments.

He said that McAdams has no previous experience as a fire chief and would likely be paid less than the district’s previous fire chief, Bruce Watson, who was terminated in January. Watson’s salary was $90,000.

Andrews said McAdams is well-respected by the firefighters, who were supportive of the Board’s decision.

“We think he is the candidate that fits those requirements we were looking for,” Andrews said. “He has a proven track record, and his experience and qualifications are admirable.”

He said the Fire Chief’s position was not posted and the Board did not interview or consider anyone else for the position.

“It is our preference to promote from within when we have a qualified candidate,” Andrews said.

The Board will not require McAdams to relocate within the fire district, Andrews said. McAdams resides in Jarrell.

Before being appointed Interim Chief, McAdams served as Training Coordinator for WCESD #4. While working as a firefighter at the Austin Fire Department, he also worked for the Liberty Hill fire department under former Chief James Pogue in 2007. McAdams retired from AFD with 22 years of service. At the time of his retirement, he was serving as Captain of Rescue 28 Special Operations Battalion. From October 2008-January 2010, McAdams was Assistant Chief for the Williamson County HazMat team.

When hired as Interim Chief, McAdams told The Independent that his goal is to provide “uninterrupted service to the community.”

In other business Thursday, the Board heard a proposal from administrative staff for the purchase of a new fire engine that would cost an estimated $500,000. Andrews said it is not critical that the purchase be made now, but the Board asked staff to report on the condition of fire apparatus and make recommendations on long-term needs.

“This was the top priority,” Andrews said. “We are in the first stages of developing a budget plan for next year. Of course, staff takes a priority over everything else, but we needed to look at our additional needs.”

The Board also approved a change in the employee retirement plan to allow staff to borrow against their annuities up to 50 percent. Andrews said it does not impact the ESD as it will be up to the employee to pay back the amount borrowed.

Also last week, Commissioners learned the ESD is at 49.8 percent of its budget for the current fiscal year, which ends in September.