Public Safety Committee grills Augusta fire chief

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, May 13, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The Public Safety Committee grilled Fire Chief Chris James about the expired air cylinders, buying a new fire truck and his involvement with getting a new ambulance contract for the city.

Commissioner Donnie Smith was called hostile for his approach.

"There is an appropriate way to do anything. Getting in someone's face with verbiage is not the way to do it," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.

"It was not the entire commission. It was Commissioner Bill Lockett who had the problem," said Commissioner Smith.

Smith was stopped from going further when Lockett called for the question. A vote to continue failed and Public Safety Chairman Alvin Mason made the decision to move on. He says his leadership on Monday showed how he'd run the city if he was elected mayor.

"When you're in a leadership position, you lead. We were getting lost in the minutia. We can have the discussion with any department head," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

"We will start that questioning again. I want to know who was responsible, what actions were taken, what will make sure this doesn't occur in the future," Smith said.

Smith is referring to the hundreds of air cylinders that expired.

James told News 12 an employee was written up for missing that important deadline.

Lockett says this isn't the first time a city department head has been disrespected.

"There's a pattern of it, it may not be intentional. If we don't ever call it, then no one will. It's time to settle down and be more professional," Lockett said.


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