Alabaster appoints new fire chief

Published 8:28 pm Monday, February 4, 2013

Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon, right, swears in new Alabaster Fire Chief Jim Golden, left, as Golden's wife, Kris, looks on during a Feb. 4 City Council meeting. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Interim Alabaster Fire Chief Jim Golden moved into the position full-time when he was appointed as the city’s fire chief during a Feb. 4 City Council meeting.

During the meeting, the council voted unanimously to appoint Golden as the fire chief after Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon recommended him for the position. Golden replaced former Fire Chief Frank Matherson, who retired on Nov. 1, 2012.

Golden has been working with the Alabaster Fire Department since 1999, and was a battalion chief before he was named the chief. Before coming to Alabaster, Golden worked at the Auburn Fire Department for two years after working with volunteer fire departments.

After the council voted, Golden, his wife and son came to the front of the room as Handlon swore him in. About 15 of the city’s firefighters attended the meeting, and the crowd at the Alabaster City Hall Annex gave Golden a standing ovation.

“Our department has a lot of great assets, but the greatest asset is people,” Golden said after the meeting. “I am thankful for the opportunity to lead them going forward. This is a special opportunity, and I am really excited about it.”

Handlon, City Administrator George Henry and Pelham Mayor Gary Waters – who served as Pelham’s fire chief for many years – interviewed Golden and four other candidates for the fire chief position after a panel of five Alabama fire chiefs chose the top five candidates out of the 29 original applicants.

“I want to publicly thank Mayor Waters for helping us with that interview process,” Handlon said. “Jim’s passion for Alabaster just put him over the top.”

Council President Scott Brakefield said the city had “strong” applicants for the position, and said Golden faced stiff competition for the spot.

“I’m proud of our city, I’m proud of the process and I’m proud of the quality of the applicants we had,” Brakefield said. “Jim was up against some good candidates.

“Your passion for the city is what strikes me,” Brakefield told Golden.

During their comments at the end of the meeting, the council members praised Golden for his years of service to the city.

“I can’t think of a better person to serve in that role right now than Jim Golden,” said Ward 2 Councilman Bob Hicks.