County Commission on Tuesday approved creating an assistant fire chief position for the county fire department, the first step in a planned reorganization of the fire department’s supervisory structure.
Troup County Fire Chief Dennis Knight on Tuesday said that the move would not change the number of personnel in the department, currently 57. The changes would come by promoting more officers to supervisors because current supervisors are responsible for too many firefighters.
“Our current organizational chart is very tall,” Knight said, showing a flow chart of the department’s hierarchy with only three supervisors each overseeing about 17 to 19 subordinates. “… The optimum span of control is five subordinates to one supervisor. As you can see by just looking at the organizational chart, we are far exceeding that span of control.”
Knight said the reorganization effort would bring more control and efficiency to the department. The proposed reorganization would take the three current shift captains and place three company officers as supervisors directly under them, each officer overseeing four to six subordinates.
“You can see how the span of control is much more in line with the standard with this organizational chart,” Knight said. “You would also have more leadership positions for each shift, and each one of these positions would have greater duties and responsibilities.”
He said the supervising officers would still be responding firefighters assigned to a station, but may be responsible for more than one station. Knight wants to try and provide a company vehicle for supervisors responsible for more than one station to use to respond to a station other than the one they are assigned.
“I’m proud because we have a lot of great firefighters in our department, they’re hard-working and dedicated and do a good job,” Knight said.
Commissioners unanimously approved changing the open captain’s position to an assistant chief position. Commissioners are expected to visit the reorganization proposal in more detail during the county budget review later this month.