NA hires Coker as new fire chief

After examining several applicants, the City of New Albany has hired Union County resident Steve Coker to take the top job of its fire department.

Coker will begin serving as the New Albany fire department chief on May 9.
“We had several good applicants for the job,” New Albany Mayor Tim Kent told the New Albany Gazette Tuesday.  “We just felt that [Coker] was the best qualified person for the job.”
Coker was hired to the job Monday, nearly two months after former chief Jeff Hale resigned from the position.
Coker, who has served as deputy tax assessor for Union County since 1995, also has nearly 20 years of fire fighting experience.  Since 1992, he has been a member of the East Union Volunteer Fire Department and has served as the department chief for 11 years.  During that time, the department’s fire rating had decreased from a class 10 to a class 8 rating from the Mississippi State Rating Bureau.
Coker has also been serving as the Union County fire services coordinator since 2008.
“We just felt that, at this time, he was the right person to lead our department,” Kent said.  “He is very familiar with the grant-writing process, is very people-oriented and comes with a lot of experience and high praise.”
Kent said that Coker will begin his duties as New Albany’s fire chief on May 9, so that he can serve out his two weeks’ notice for the county tax assessor’s office.
Kent also said that the fire chief salary is $42,000.