Multiple commissioners admit they never read original resolution

The Brown County Commissioner’s Court did not take any action regarding the status of county emergency management coordinator David Creed as county fire marshal.

Precinct 3 County Commissioner Wayne Shaw previously said he questioned Creed's credentials and challenged a request to reimburse Creed funds for a law enforcement license in order to create the office of Brown County fire marshal.

Brownwood Fire Chief Eddy Wood, who was asked by Commissioner Joel Kelton earlier Monday morning to address commissioners, said, “Generally speaking, you go to a fire investigator class and become proficient there and now you’re a fire investigator. You have the skills to perform and show you have the skills to be worthy and proficient. That’s one check box we refer to. Once you become a peace officer, you’re an arson investigator. Those two pieces are what we look for in a fire investigator or an arson investigator.”

Precinct 1 Commissioner Gary Worley said, when the commission approved Creed’s appointment in February, they did it under the assumption Creed slowly integrate as county fire marshal and completely takeover county fire investigations when Preston retires, which he estimated between 18 months to two years. A consequence of approving the resolution appointing Creed was commissioners inadvertently approved making Creed the county fire marshal. Another point of contention was a $1,000 license fee to create the county fire marshal’s office, which Shaw said went against commissioners’ understanding taxpayers would not incur any costs in creating the new emergency management coordinator position. With both items in play, commissioners sought to reconsider Creed’s appointment.

“I’m not questioning any credentials. I’m questioning the resolution and the way it was presented,” Worley said. “It created the fire marshal position, which again, as a member of the court I was thinking it would be another 18 months to two years. With the resolution it created it on February 11. We were not aware of that when it was presented to us … It’s our fault. We didn’t read the resolution. I don’t remember if we had it in front of us.”

Brown County Attorney Shane Britton said the commission could not take any action on the regarding Creed’s status due to the agenda item only requiring discussion of Creed’s status. With multiple commissioners still displeased with the wording of the resolution, it seems likely commissioners will readdress the issue once more in the near future. Britton nearly forced the meeting into a closed-door executive session, in order to preserve Creed’s privacy as a county employee. Creed rejected an executive session making all of Monday’s proceedings public record. To Creed, remaining on the record to preserve public confidence in emergency management surpasses in importance any perceived embarrassment.

“It wasn’t something embarrassing. Executive session may have been the way to go for me, but I have nothing to hide,” Creed said. “I’m a big fan of transparency. If it’s transparent, and everyone gets to see it, then there is no questions as to what’s going on.”

Commissioners also:

Approved policy changes regarding use of county credit cards. Received an update from grant writer Bob Contreras regarding ongoing grant proposals. Took no action in implementing a burn ban.