Flaggs: Vicksburg Fire Chief selection narrowed to two deputy chiefs

Published 5:06 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2022

One of the Vicksburg Fire Department’s deputy chiefs — Trey Martin or Derrick Stamps — will be the next fire chief, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said Wednesday.

“I narrowed my selection down to two people and that’s one of the deputy chiefs. I have every intention to recommend one of the deputy chiefs as chief,” Flaggs said.

“Both of them have proven that they can pick up where (retired chief Craig) Danczyk left off and take it to the next level,” he said. “I’m extremely impressed with both the deputy chiefs now. That’s the reason now I’m not appointing an interim because both of them are working well together right now and in October, we’ll pick one of them.”

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Flaggs’ announcement about the chief’s position comes after he introduced Jessica Cade as the fire department’s third deputy chief during a meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Cade will be sworn in at Friday’s board meeting.

Flaggs also said he is considering restructuring the deputy chiefs’ and the fire chief’s job descriptions.

“What I’m trying to do is, as we go forward, is put the best people at the best time in the best position,” he said.

After interviewing Cade, he said, “She has all the potential — but not the experience — of being a good chief one day. She’s been there seven years, and that’s what we need to start looking at — people that have invested in the city but not to the point where all they want is four or five years and they retire.”

Cade completed her paramedic studies at Hinds Community College in July of 2015 and began working for the Vicksburg Fire Department as a paramedic in September of 2015, serving as a paramedic on the ambulance. She is a Tier 5 paramedic and has trained new paramedics and EMTs.

The Vicksburg Homecoming Benevolent Club named her Fire Fighter of the Year for the City of Vicksburg Fire Department in 2019.

Flaggs said he wants to rebuild the top administrative structure of the fire department by “balancing out” the expertise of the chief and deputy chiefs.

“By me going to get Jessica first, (that) allows me to strengthen the top tier,” he said.

“The fire department basically runs itself through the battalion chiefs,” Flaggs said. He said each of the department’s three battalion chiefs is over a shift “and that’s who really guides the fire department; that’s where your leadership comes from. The rest is just an administrative position.

“Every time I make a move or appoint somebody, I move to the next level. It’s not where you’ve been; it’s where you want to go.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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