Biloxi fire chief announces plans to retire after nearly 40 years with department

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 1:35 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Fire Chief Joe Boney announced during Tuesday’s Biloxi City Council meeting that he plans to retire by the end of this year.

This announcement comes after rumblings came out of City Hall around the future of Boney’s job with the city and the fire department.

Boney, who has served as fire chief for the last eight years, submitted his letter of intent to the mayor on Tuesday before addressing the city council with his decision, saying he would stay on to ensure a smooth transition.

The fire chief told WLOX he wasn’t expecting to retire so soon, but it’s a decision he feels is best.

“I’ve always prided myself that the council affirmed me originally unanimously and if I can’t have that, it’s hard for me to work with someone who doesn’t have faith in me,” Boney said. “While I do work for the mayor, I have to have a relationship with the council, and if they’re not interested in working with me, it defeats my purpose of being here. I have my tenure, I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished, my goals were met and I’m comfortable with whatever happens.”

Boney and every other Biloxi department head were up for ratification at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. Normally, that vote is a formality, but Boney had been told some of Biloxi’s city council members want more time to decide if the chief should keep his job.

WLOX spoke with two councilmen who confirmed that chatter has merit.

Boney, who has been with Biloxi Fire Department for nearly 40 years, said he was surprised by the news.

“I don’t know what the motive is or why some of the council aren’t considering my reappointment,” said Boney. “I guess that’s a decision they have to make. I thought we were doing a good job and had no reason to believe I wouldn’t be reaffirmed, so I’m quite surprised by it.”

The city council ultimately decided to table the appointments of all department heads until the next meeting on July 20. Boney will continue serving as chief until that meeting.

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