Excerpts from jg-tc.com:

The Mattoon City Council voted unanimously at its meeting Tuesday night to approve an agreement for retired Charleston fire chief Kris Phipps, as an independent contractor, to serve as interim chief for 12 months to fill a vacancy created by the Feb. 25 retirement of Tony Nichols. The interim chief resolution states that the city opted to hire a contractor in the interim to ensure the efficient operation of the fire department while the city conducts an employee selection process in order to permanently fill the chief vacancy.

Under the contract, Phipps will serve as interim chief from March 19, 2019, to March 18, 2020, for a total fee of $118,500 paid in installments. The city administrator said he hopes the city can begin seeking chief candidates from within the department and outside it in about six months.

Phipps retired in 2009 as Charleston fire chief after serving three years in this post and a total of 27 years with the department. He then worked for Spectra Tech, Inc., based in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in roles that included teaching emergency operations planning for those who work with fuel storage facilities.

 Mattoon Fire Department’s shift captains have been handling top leadership responsibilities with the department since Nichols stepped down. The council voted on Oct. 17 to eliminate the department’s assistant chief post due to budgetary restraints and to transfer then-Assistant Fire Chief Sean Junge to fill a vacant shift captain post.

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