Natchez fire chief retiring after 35 years of service

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, May 20, 2015

NATCHEZ — After 35 years of service to Natchez through his work at the Natchez Fire Department, Natchez Fire Chief Oliver Stewart is retiring.

His last official day with the city will be June 30.

With his upcoming retirement, the city is seeking to interview applicants to fill his position.

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Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said the city’s Civil Service Commission will prepare a list of three candidates, and then the board of aldermen will interview the applicants.

“It’s a process that’s in motion,” said Brown, adding that he plans to have the position filled by early June.

According to the job posting, the main qualities the board is seeking in a fire chief are extensive knowledge of the principals, practices, procedures and equipment using modern firefighting, fire prevention and personnel training.

Resumes are due to the city personnel office by May 29.

So far, Brown said the board hasn’t interviewed any candidates.

“I’m a firm believer in hiring someone with a lot of experience, so that’s what we’ll be looking for,” he said.

Stewart said he’s confident in the city’s ability to find a qualified fire chief.

“I just hope they find someone who is capable of doing a good job,” Stewart said.

Before he was fire chief, Stewart served as battalion chief for the city. In all, Stewart worked for the city’s fire department for 35 years.

The city currently pays Stewart a yearly salary of $52,000.

Since the board hasn’t reviewed any applicants and their experience yet, Brown said a starting salary for an incoming fire chief has not been determined.

Stewart served as fire chief for eight years. He said he still plans to live in Natchez after retiring.