Fire Department needs assessment completed, but not released

CSRA News

Augusta, Ga (WJBF) –  After months of complaints against Fire Chief Chris James his departments needing assessments is now in the hands of city leaders. They are going over it, but the public cannot.  

 Augusta Professional Firefighters Association has put Chief Chris James in the hot-seat.  

in June the association said James should resign or be fired because of issues like staff shortages, forced overtime and corruption.  

“Things have not improved. We’re still losing people at an alarming rate and the only way to fix this is a change in leadership,” said Association President Phillip Brigham.  

 In July commissioners ordered a needs assessment of the Fire Department.  

Since then, Chief James was accused of discrimination by the EMS Chief who resigned, then the city administrator ruled against James saying a petition supporting him was gathered on city property and violated policy. 

 Commissioners say the assessment looks at these issues but offers no guidance.  

“The disappointing thing that I found in the assessment is that it did exactly that it assessed on the issues but it gave no clear direction on which direction to take,” said Commissioner John Clarke.  

 Others are saying the assessment is no smoking gun against James.  

 “It’s nothing in there that I think that would cause us to take any action against the Fire Chief,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.  

 But the public is not seeing the assessment because the city attorney says its part of a personnel issue and exempt from Georgia open records law making it public. 

 “I think it’s a cover up it’s not a personnel issue it was an assessment that was funded by taxpayer money it makes it a public record,” said Brigham.  

Commissioners have a regular meeting next week that will give them the opportunity to go over the needs assessment in a legal session calls to the Fire Chief and the mayor were not returned.

In Augusta, George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6. 


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