Mineral County Fire Chief T.C. Knight resigned his position of Mineral County Fire Chief during the commissioner meeting.
Hesitant Commissioner Jerrie Tipton asked Knight, “What if we don’t accept?”
Knight simply returned her question with a shrug of his shoulders.
Knight asked to remain a member of the Mineral County Fire and Emergency Service Management team as a volunteer and the commissioners unanimously approved.
His last official day with Mineral County was Oct. 5.
The commissioners were then tasked with the job of appointing an interim Mineral County Fire Chief. Commissioner Garth Price stated that he has spoken with District Attorney Sean Rowe (who was absent during this part of the commissioner meeting) and District Attorney Rowe had explained to Commissioner Price that it would be best to have Knight name an interim in his absence until advertising notices could be fulfilled.
Commissioner Price submitted a written list of names who have come to him with interest in filling the position.
Knight asked what the qualifications were in appointing the interim chief. In reviewing the list, Knight gave his suggestion. He asked to table the item for awhile so he can get his thoughts together on a snap decision.
The commissioners tabled this item until later in the afternoon. Commissioner Price explained that after much discussion, “It is important that we have someone over there that is a point of contact.
His recommendation is to appoint Vern Watson, a retiree from Fallon Naval Air Station Fire Department who is interested in the interim and chief positions.
“He has no strings attached and could take over tomorrow,” Commissioner Price stated.
David Ziegler stated that the fire department does need someone in that position so the department can flow properly. “Someone needs to run the day to day operations,” Ziegler told the commissioners.
“I can trust him,” Commissioner Price said.
Watson addressed the commissioners stating he retired last year with 26 years of experience, began as a volunteer fireman with Mineral County in 1975 and was raised in Hawthorne.
“It would be an honor to serve the citizens of Mineral County. That includes Hawthorne, Mina, Luning, Walker Lake and even Schurz,” Watson said.
“I don’t want somebody that doesn’t have the EMS training or fire training,” Commissioner Tipton said.
“We need to keep this proactive and inactive or reactive. We need to keep this fiscally sound and keeping people there to respond to emergencies,” Watson explained.
Watson was approved by the commissioners to be the interim commissioner. The hiring of fire chief will be held in November.