Augusta commissioner wants the fire chief gone

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email

News12 at six o'clock/ 4/22/14

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- An Augusta Commissioner wants Richmond County fire chief Chris James off the job.

We got our hands on this binder full of allegations against Chief James and his administration.

The chief is denying all of these claims but another city leader is coming to the chief's defense. It's a story you'll see only on 12.

"I read about three or four pages of it. After I got to the fifth page, I said this was ludicrous," said Commissioner Corey Johnson.

Commissioner Corey Johnson is talking about this 100 plus page binder full of reasons why Commissioner Joe Jackson is calling for Richmond County fire chief Chris James to be fired.

"I don't know where this is coming from but think it all stems from the storm," said Johnson.

Documents detail problems the department had with staffing issues, fuel for generators, and even food for the firefighters.

"It's confusing to me when the firefighters union says we didn't provide support or assistance. We had 25 members call in sick on one shift and it put us in a situation," said Deputy Fire chief Sterling Jones.

February's ice storm is only one of the reasons Jackson lists.

The packet mentions that Chief James has been at odds with the Augusta Regional Airport Director and their Fire department over who has jurisdiction over airport emergencies. Documents also raise questions about Chief James is spending nearly $1,000 to train firefighters in aircraft rescue school.

Commissioner Johnson says if there was an issue with the chief it's the administrator's job to handle it first.

"The administrator is the first chain of command to make sure anything that is going on isn't going on anymore. If it doesn't happen at that level then it needs to come to the full commission," said Johnson.

In this binder Chief James listed all the things he's done like buying new radios, implementing a wellness program and putting a firetruck south of Tobacco road which is a first for the department.

"So again I'm not sure why this has escalated to where it is today. I know the fire chief has done a great job. He's been working diligently to make sure the citizens are safe," said Johnson.


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