Calera hires new fire chief, moves to five-day work week

The Calera City Council approved a pair of motions during a Dec. 7 meeting, bringing a new city fire chief to town and changing the city’s work schedule.

The council, which met for the first time since Mayor Jon Graham and newcomers Chris Bunn and Ed Gentry were sworn in Nov. 17, voted unanimously to hire Sean Kendrick as the city’s new fire chief.

Kendrick was a captain with the Hoover Fire Department who has more than 20 years of firefighting experience. The council chose Kendrick over six other applicants after an extensive interview process.

“I’m excited. The Calera Fire Department has a great reputation,” Kendrick said. “This is a rapidly growing city, we just want to make sure we are keeping pace with that growth.

“The guys here have done a great job of that so far, and I just want to be a part of continuing that,” Kendrick added. “It’s really an honor to follow Tommy Moon.”

Kendrick replaced Moon, who died Oct. 24 after more than 33 years of service to the city. The council recently named Calera’s No. 1 fire station in honor of Moon.

“It’s just a tough thing for all of us (to replace Moon),” Bunn said. “”But we went through a very thorough process with this. We want the best thing for the city.”

“(Kendrick’s) character is impeccable,” Councilman Mike Roberson added. “We have a lot of good people in good positions in Calera, and this just adds to it.”

The council also unanimously approved a motion to extend the city’s work hours to five days per week.

As a result of the decision, City Hall will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. City Hall was previously open from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

Although the move will cost the city about $36,000 more per year in operating expenses, it will allow city employees to be more accessible to Calera residents, said Graham.

“I’ve been up here working on Fridays before, and I’ve seen people come up to the door and then walk away,” Graham said. “We are here to serve the public, and I think being open five days a week is very important.”

In other business, the council:

Moved its regular council meetings from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month.

Accepted a $120,000 bid to install in-car video camera systems in the city’s police cruisers.

Accepted a $19,855 bid to purchase new waste receptacle bins throughout the city.

Elected Councilman David Bradshaw as the city’s mayor pro-tem, appointed Bunn to the city’s employee sick leave committee and appointed Graham, Councilman Bobby Joe Phillips and Roberson to the city’s Water Board.