Biloxi's fire chief ready to bring divided department together

Joe Boney
Joe Boney

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi's new fire chief says he'll work to repair any rifts created over the last few months of deciding who will get the top job. The city council confirmed Joe Boney as chief. This came, a week after the council rejected the mayor's previous pick. Chief Boney talked about how he hopes to bring the department together.

After nearly 30 years on the job, it was Boney's chance to show why he should lead the Biloxi Fire Department.

"Joe Boney definitely has the qualifications," said Council Member George Lawrence. "We look for work ethic. He definitely has the work ethic. He hasn't missed a day of sick leave in 29 years he's been with the fire department."

The Biloxi council unanimously approved Boney as the fire department's new chief. Boney said one priority will be to try to move past any hurt feelings and divisiveness that caused the council's rejection of Anthony Shook whom many firefighters had supported.

"It's a new day for the fire department, I feel like. I hope most of the guys will agree with me on that. I think they will,"said Chief Boney. "I've talked to quite a few of them. They're excited. You know it's change and change is inevitable, but it doesn't have to be evil. It can be exciting too and I'm hoping that they'll join me tin that."

Boney said he's proud of his fellow firefighters.

"My philosophy has always been to treat them the way the way I want to be treated and it hasn't proven me wrong yet," Chief Boney said. "These guys are a great bunch of guys. I said earlier that we're a dysfunctional family, but we're a family. These guys have big hearts and they're willing to do what it takes to do the job."

He said being named chief was sweeter knowing his father Earnest Boney was there to witness the moment.

"My dad is going to turn 90 next month and he has supported me all the way through this," said Chief Boney. "Between him and my loving wife and daughters and grandchild, it's truly family is what puts you here."

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