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No set date for hiring new Port Neches fire chief; application process complete

PORT NECHES — The city of Port Neches received a dozen applications for the top spot in the fire department to fill the void left following the arrest and firing of the previous chief.

City Manager André Wimer said Port Neches received an array of applicants, both in-house and elsewhere.

“The date for the receipt of applications and resumes has expired, and we will be in the process of starting a review in the very near future,” Wimer said this week.

Applications were accepted from Jan. 29 to Feb. 19, according to the job posting and were available on the city’s website and at city hall.

Wimer said no specific date has been set to hire a new fire chief.

“Mike Stegall will continue to serve as interim chief during this time,” Wimer said of the veteran firefighter and former assistant chief.

Per the job posting, applicants were required to pass a pre-employment drug/alcohol screening.

Base pay rate for the position begins at $117,235, and there are pay grade steps as well as a $475 per month car allowance, $34 cell phone allowance and $75 per month expense allowance.

The city’s previous fire chief, Paul Nelson, was fired and arrested by authorities on Jan. 14 on two promotion-of-child pornography charges. The warrants followed an investigation by the Texas Attorney General’s Child Exploitation Unit.

Nelson, 54, posted a $50,000 bond the following day and was released from Jefferson County Jail. He had been hired in 2016 and replaced former fire chief Stephen Curran.