Potential Changes Coming to Mexico Beach Department of Public Sa - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Potential Changes Coming to Mexico Beach Department of Public Safety

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The city of Mexico Beach read for the first time an ordinance that, if passed, would effectively divide the job of the Department of Public Safety Chief into three separate positions

If ordinance 597 passes, Mexico Beach would have a Police Chief, a Fire Chief and an Emergency Services Coordinator.

Tuesday, the council weighed the pros and cons of the move. Chief among the dissenters was Councilwoman, Tanya Castro, who saw little need to separate the position into three jobs.

Currently, the Chief of the Department of Public Safety oversees all three departments; but in a December workshop, the council deliberated the need to break up the role in an effort to alleviate the stress on current Chief, Glen Norris.

The changes could come less than two months after Norris was sworn into his position.

The departments (made up mostly from volunteers) would have new leaders, but Mayor Al Cathey doesn't believe it will affect the budget.

Meanwhile, Castro argued why the move was necessary.

"It just doesn't make sense to me. We've got three divisions. One is Fire, which is just volunteers, and we had one call in the month of December. We have ESU, which is a part time employee and a couple of part time volunteers. It just doesn't make sense to me why we're separating this into three different divisions," said Castro.

In December, the department saw two felony cases, 10 misdemeanors cases and responded to 3 fires.

Currently, new volunteer firefighters are being trained.

Meanwhile, the ordinance will move to a second reading. If passed, it will take effect immediately