Hattiesburg mayor names choice for interim fire chief

Hattiesburg mayor names choice for interim fire chief

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Mayor Toby Barker has nominated a 20-year Hattiesburg Fire Department veteran to serve as interim fire chief following the retirement of Paul Presley, whose last day was Friday.

Barker nominated Battalion Chief Stephen Mooney to temporarily lead the department. The city council will vote on the appointment Jan. 2.

"Stephen cares about the future of the department, and as a 20-year veteran, he understands our need of taking careful consideration for who serves in this position permanently," said Barker. "His work ethic and attention to detail coupled with his fire experience will serve the department well during this transition time. We are grateful for his willingness to serve."

Barker said his administration is working hard to find a permanent fire chief replacement. A news release from the city said Mooney is not a candidate for the permanent position.

"The Hattiesburg Fire Department has an incredible legacy with firefighters who care about the citizens of the city," said Mooney. "I'm both humbled and grateful to fill this role while Mayor Barker looks for a candidate who can effectively lead the department into the future."

Mooney has worked for the Hattiesburg Fire Department since 1997. In that time, he has acquired more than 1,200 hours of certifications and training. He was promoted to the rank of battalion chief in 2016 and was appointed fire marshal.