Fayette ES Chief McCullough’s position is eliminated

3 longtime staffers promoted

Even before Fayette County Fire and Emergency Services Division Director Allen McCullough leaves county employment by mid-year, his position will be eliminated.

Three longtime members of the department’s leadership team have been promoted to fill McCullough’s former responsibilities on an interim basis as annual budget talks are set to begin soon.

County Administrator Steve Rapson said McCullough’s position was eliminated effective immediately after the executive session portion of the March 14 meeting and that he has been put on administrative leave until July 1.

Rapson said McCullough’s salary and benefits will continue to be paid through July 1 unless he secures a position elsewhere prior to that date. McCullough would be available through July 1 to answer departmental questions if the need arises, Rapson said.

With the elimination of McCullough’s position and in the interim prior to upcoming budget talks, commissioners on March 14 named Fire Marshal and Fayette County Bureau of Fire Prevention Director David Scarbrough as interim Fayette County Fire Chief, Fayette County Emergency Management Coordinator Pete Nelms as interim director of the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency and Fayette County Deputy Fire Chief Tom Bartlett as interim Fayette County Deputy Fire Chief.

In terms of chain of command, Rapson said it will continue as it has in the past. He said Nelms will report to Bartlett, Bartlett will report to Scarbrough and Scarbrough will report to Rapson.

Scarbrough began his 26 years of service as a firefighter and later served as fire marshal and director of the county’s fire prevention bureau. Scarbrough holds both state and international certifications.

“The Marine Corps taught me to support, empower and provide my leadership the resources needed to do their job and then to stay out of their way — I’m excited about David leading our fire services,” Rapson said.

Nelms has 24 years of service. His career began as a firefighter in 1989 and he later served as a paramedic, lieutenant and captain and, for the past 18 years, as emergency management coordinator. Nelms holds both state and international certifications.

His responsibilities will include all emergency management and Homeland Security activities including disaster planning, emergency operations center coordination, plan development, risk assessment and analysis, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery activities.

“It is a pleasure to have someone with Pete’s professionalism and certifications in charge of our emergency preparedness,” said Rapson.

Bartlett has 31 years of service, beginning his career in 1981 as a volunteer firefighter. Bartlett has served as a station officer, caption and battalion chief in charge of fire training. Bartlett also holds a number of certifications and professional affiliations.

“Nothing we do is more important than having the right people in the right job. Tom is the right person with the right qualities in the right job. His professionalism and track record will lead fire operations in the right direction,” Rapson said.