Mark Wobus made history in the City of Bastrop when he stepped into the paid Fire Chief position on December 31.
“I’m extremely excited. When I was first offered the position it was kind of a shock for me and as the day got closer to when I was officially going to start, and even the official first day on the 31st of December, things were finally starting to settle in as to the amount of responsibility and everything I'm going to be doing and need to take care of going forward,” said Chief Wobus.
Wobus is a longtime firefighter. He served as a volunteer district chief with the Bastrop Fire Department before stepping into the chief position. He also worked as an engineer with Travis County Emergency Services and a regional coordinator with the Texas A&M Forest Service.
Wobus said hiring a paid chief is a step in the right direction for the constantly growing city.
“I think it's just one of those steps up that the city is preparing for things to get larger in the future, so bringing on a paid fire chief is certainly a good move to start preparing the department for what comes tomorrow for the city,” Wobus said.
Wobus is working with the Bastrop public safety director to adjust bylaws and eligibility requirements moving forward. He will oversee volunteer firefighters, but said having someone on the city payroll could make a big difference for the department moving forward.
“It'll allow the city to have better input and communication with the fire department and when you're dealing with an all-volunteer department, all volunteer staff, they have other jobs and things have to kind of sit idle for a day or two until somebody can get around to it. This may start the process a little sooner, a little quicker for somebody being here Monday through Friday and even on weekends to get things started,” said Wobus.
Wobus said working on previous fires in Bastrop County has allowed the department to build relationships with surrounding emergency management and those relationships will be important in case there is another large fire in the area.
Although Wobus is the first paid fire chief in the City of Bastrop, he is the third paid fire chief in Bastrop County. His starting salary will be about $78,000.