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Swansboro town officials search for new fire, police chiefs

By Alison Parker
Published On: Apr 12 2013 04:36:40 PM CDT
SWANSBORO, ONSLOW COUNTY -

Bob Penrod has lived and breathed fire rescue for years. But he's realized it's time to take a breather.

The former Swansboro Fire Chief tendered his resignation, effective Friday. Penrod says it was hard to walk away -- something Town Manager David Harvell understands.

"Nobody can work 40 to 50 hours full-time and also be a full-time fire chief," Harvell said. "It's just not realistic to the town, the needs to the town, the needs as a person to do both any period of time."

Penrod says he also works as a 9-11 dispatch supervisor aboard Camp Lejeune. He says at this point in his life, he just wants family time.

The interim fire chief, Arthur Taylor, has figured out that it's a tough job.

"It's amazing," Taylor said. "They usually call firefighters the jack-of-all-trades because we deal with so many different issues."

Harvell says former Police Chief Ed Parrish stepped down March 15 to work as a lieutenant on the police force, also for personal reasons. An interim police chief is filling in for now.

Harvell hopes to fill these positions with full-time employees soon. Right now, town officials have sent out a survey to the community (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6357JNH) to get residents' feedback on what they'd like to see in the next police chief. Harvell says he doesn't plan on surveying the community regarding the next fire chief.

For both chief searches, Harvell says he plans to gather a panel of community members to interview candidates.

Business owner Janet Bennett hopes the next chiefs care and want to give back to the community.

"I really feel like whoever goes into that position needs to know that they are working not only for the town of Swansboro but for the enlargement and improvement of Swansboro," Bennett said.