A veteran firefighter was named the new fire chief for the city of Pinehurst at the regular meeting of the city council on Tuesday night.

Justin Partain comes to Pinehurst from the West Orange Volunteer Fire Department. He’s been in Texas for three years. Prior to that he resided in South Carolina and Oklahoma where he graduated from the South Carolina Fire Academy and the Oklahoma Fire School.

Partain has hazmat, first responder, rope rescue and emergency vehicle driving certifications.

Mayor Pete Runnels told Partain the fire department has had difficulties with volunteer firefighters in the past and what did he plan to do to remedy the situation.

Partain answered he will heavily recruit and attend every city council meeting so he can to stay abreast on the city’s issues.

Councilman Matt Chandler said he was not confident with the Pinehurst Volunteer Fire Department and he didn’t see the point in the council voting for a new fire chief if he couldn’t change things with the department.

Councilman Dan Barclay replied the city has to have a fire chief and he can begin solving problems with the department.

Kevin Williamson was also named as the department assistant fire chief.

In other council business, City Administrator Joe Parkhurst read a long list of recommended changes to the personnel policy and procedures handbook to be either approved or disapproved.

Issues discussed were employees’ pay, insurance premiums, bereavement time off, holiday and vacation pay, personal days, compensatory time off and sick days.

Barclay told the council he has friends in San Bernadino, Calif. who kept giving employee benefits a little at a time until they went bankrupted. He said he doesn’t want the same thing to happened to Pinehurst.

Justin Partain, left, and Michael Moses were named as chief and captain of the Pinehurst Volunteer Fire Department at the regular meeting of the Pinehurst City Council. RECORD PHOTO:David Ball