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Augusta firefighters calling for more transparency in fire chief hiring process

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 8:03 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta firefighters are calling for more transparency in the hiring process of the new fire chief. They spoke in front of commissioners today.

All of this comes after our I-Team found the city administrator threw Antonio Burden’s name into consideration even though internal emails show burden was not a recommended candidate by the staffing agency the city paid thousands of your dollars to hire.

Everyone says they have the same goal. To get the best most qualified candidate in the position. But there’s now conflict over how the process is being done and some firefighters say they don’t like what they’re seeing.

Captain Daniel Steele says all he wants is for commission to pick a candidate from the pool of 11 the staffing agency hand-picked. Internal emails show those candidates were in two top tiers of people they deemed most qualified for the job. Antonio Burden was not in either of those.

Some people are calling for transparency and two commissioners tell us Mayor Hardie Davis was told by the cities attorney not to open the floor for questions.

We reached out to the mayor’s office and they tell us that’s not true. And commissioners had the opportunity to put themselves in a que to ask questions.

After all this, firefighters say they have concerns about the selection process.

“The taxpayers deserve better. The mayor says in the beginning every time he has a meeting, single meeting— they’re there to do the people’s business. Well, do the people’s business and hire the most qualified and capable candidate for the position,” said Captain Daniel Steele, a firefighter with station 18.

The city administrator declined an interview with us about why he threw Mr. Burden’s name into consideration. But he did tell us he has no personal or professional relationship with Mr. Burden and has never met him before.

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