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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

30 applicants apply for Bedford Fire Chief position

BEDFORD - SEPTEMBER 4, 2023 - There were a total of 30 applicants who applied for the City of Bedford Fire Chief position following the retirement of Bedford Fire chief John Hughes.


The application process ended on Thursday.


This will make the second fire chief in almost three years. This comes after former fire chief Dewayne Turpen resigned, and John Hughes was selected as the next fire chief, who then retired in August.


Fire Chief Hughes last day was August 11th after serving 32 years.


Photo: A fire engine prepares to leave Bedford fire station # 2


Among the applicants two are within the ranks of the Bedford Fire Department. There is no time line of when the new fire chief will be selected by Mayor Sam Craig and Bedford Board of Works.


In August 2021, the Bedford city council approved a 12 percent pay increase for both the fire and police chiefs. The salary for fire chief went from $57,168.80 to $64,029.42 with an expected 4 percent pay increase in the 2024 budget.


Photo: The fire chief vehicle is parked at city hall


During the former Bedford Mayor Shawna Girgis administration, Bedford city employees only received two pay raises in 12 years. The Republican led city council felt the city could not afford to give its employees pay increases due to the cash strapped city finances at the time.


This severely put the public safety sectors of police and firefighters behind in compensation.



The fire department has faced increase in turnover over the last several years, competing against higher pay wages, especially with nearby Monroe Fire Protection District.


From January 1, 2017 to July 14, 2021 Bedford Fire Department had 8 retirements, 3 left the department for similar employment; with one returning, and three left for career change. This made the total of 14 men leaving the department.


Since then four firefighters retired and another firefighter left for a different career.


Currently, Bedford firefighters are concerned about the ability to make overtime or having to use comp time when covering shifts when they are short on personnel.


Following the COVID pandemic changes to the Standard Operating procedures were made but never followed according to some firefighter who retired or departed the department for better wages.


This failure on the city's left firefighters in the position of not receiving overtime pay they would normally receive. Firefighters decided not to cover the shifts left empty due to illness.


Currently, the City of Bedford is seeking applications for for another firefighter.


Lawrence County Zephyr will monitor the latest developments in the city's search for a new fire chief.


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Located at 1416 James Avenue Bedford, Indiana








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