Scott Atkins

Siri Hedreen / The Outlook

New Dadeville fire chief Scott Atkins addresses the council after his appointment.

The Dadeville City Council appointed Scott Atkins as fire chief by unanimous vote Wednesday, following last months' decision not to reappoint then-chief Keith Wilkerson.

"All I'll say is, everybody gets treated the same," Atkins said of his new regime.

Atkins, retired assistant fire chief for Opelika Fire Department, was the best of three applicants, Mayor Jimmy Frank Goodman said at the special called meeting. The council unanimously approved Atkins' appointment as fire chief without discussion. Councilmembers Terry Greer and Teneeshia Goodman-Johnson were absent.

Incidentally, Atkins is not new to Dadeville. Atkins said he volunteered at Dadeville Fire Department for five years before he was hired in Opelika, where he worked for 28 years.

Atkins will be paid a salary of $27,000 for the part-time role.

"I appreciate the opportunity that's been given to me," Atkins said. "It's not going to be a lots of change overnight; it's going to take a while for things to be done a different way."

Atkins thanked the mayor, council and the volunteer firefighters in attendance for the opportunity.

"There's an old saying in the fire service; there's the right way, the wrong way and the chief's way," Atkins said. "I'm going to try to make sure it's the right way, but it might not exactly be the way it's been done in the past. But it's going to right."

The Dadeville fire chief position opened up three weeks ago when Dadeville City Council ousted its former fire chief Keith Wilkerson by unanimous vote.

The decision had been foreshadowed in the previous meeting, when council members returned from an executive session to vote unanimously to reappoint police chief Jonathan Floyd, but tabled a decision on reappointing Wilkerson. A handful of volunteer firefighters in attendance walked out of the room after the vote was cast.

After the meeting, Goodman said the town would start looking for a retired fire chief.

"A retired fire chief can only get so much a year, within our budget," he said. "So that's what we are looking for."

Goodman said he had "no comment" on why Wilkerson wasn't reappointed.

Atkins' tenure as fire chief begins Thursday, March 4.