When Knoxville Fire Chief Jim Mitchell came on board, one of his expectations for the Fire/Rescue Department was professionalism – in its actions, service and appearance. This included a mandated uniform to be worn while on duty.
To ease the financial burden from the cost of the uniforms, the department has entertained the idea of using the department’s memorial funds to purchase two embroidered polo shirts and one pair of medic pants for each member of the department. The cost of this is $4,500, which was approved unanimously by the Fire Department’s membership.
Current regulations for Fire Department memorial expenditures require the approval of the Knoxville City Council before the money is spent. The council agreed with the membership and approved the purchase.
The council began to consider the future of uniform purchases, and whether or not the memorial fund could sustain the expense. Assistant City Manager Dylan Feik suggested the council include uniform purchases during future Fire Department budget discussions.
The clothing will remain the property of the Fire Department. They will be recirculated among members as they come and go.
Council further questioned why it needed to approve the Fire Department’s purchases with memorial funds. More research will be done regarding this and that stipulation may change.
“At the end of the day, it’s your memorial fund,” Councilor Tim Pitt said.
At a prior meeting, the council approved the memorial fund purchase of a ceremonial bell for the department. It arrived prior to Monday’s meeting, and Mitchell brought it to show the council.
In a separate action, the council approved Josh Rawlings into the Fire Department’s cadet program. Rawlings is the brother of Jeremy Rawlings, who has also served the department.
“I certainly would love to have him, if he’s as hard a worker as his brother,” Mitchell said.