AMITE — Tangipahoa Parish Council members, sitting as Rural Fire District No. 2 commissioners, named Dennis Crocker on Tuesday as administrator of the Fire District overseeing several volunteer fire departments serving unincorporated areas of the parish.

The choice to fill the newly created position was unanimous.

Crocker’s appointment ended a yearlong effort by the council to establish a central administrative office to assist the rural fire departments.

At the outset of the process creating the position, some fire district personnel objected to the naming of an administrator.

During hearings spread over several months when creation of the position was being discussed, a frequently heard complaint was that the local fire departments would lose some of their autonomy.

However, when the final decision to hire a district administrator was made in July, Councilman Nicky Muscarello, who heads Rural Fire District No. 2, assured the chiefs of the various rural departments that control of the departments would remain in the hands of the respective firefighting units and that the administrator would assist them with fiscal and other matters.

Crocker, who is serving as chief of the Independence Fire Department, has more than 30 years of firefighting experience.

After retiring from the Kenner Fire Department after 25 years of service, he moved to Independence. He has been chief of that town’s department for the past five years.

He also served as an instructor at LSU’s Carrol L. Herring Fire and Emergency Training Institute.

Crocker’s starting salary will be $51,000 a year. If he completes a 90-day trial period satisfactorily, he will be paid an additional $1,500 annually.

His office will be located in the Old Library Building in Amite next to the Tangipahoa Parish Courthouse Annex.

The council drafted a lengthy document outlining the duties and responsibilities of the administrator.

Crocker will prepare an annual budget for the district, and oversee and develop uniform accounting and internal control systems for all departments.

He also must ensure that training is provided to all potential firefighters, and oversee and develop procedures for the control of all assets purchased by the fire departments.

David Maurer will become interim chief of the Independence Fire Department when Crocker begins his new position in mid-December.