Mayor defends town council’s decision to suspend the Wagener Fire Department and officers


WAGENER, S.C. (WJBF) – Right now, the interim chief, Gerald Taylor, is the only person working in the Wagener Fire Department. Wednesday, Mayor Mike Miller defended the town council’s decision to suspend the fire department and officers.

“If you can’t tell the truth don’t say anything at all,” said Mayor Miller.

The mayor is looking for answers but he said there are many factors why the suspension is in place.

He explained, “Checks being written to individual members for even numbers for travel and training. No odd dollars, no odd cents, a hundred dollars, a thousand dollars even and something’s not right there.”

Like the bay doors at the fire department, the department bank account is closed.

“I don’t know if any money is missing. There have been like I mentioned, checks written we have no receipts and some deposits made. One was a cash deposit. We don’t know where that money came from. If internal revenue or state department revenue asks us, they expect an answer,” said Mayor Miller.

He also claimed there was a big security issue and explained, “They denied giving out account information. It had to come from somewhere and I know it didn’t come from elected people. And I know it didn’t come from town hall but we’ll be glad. And probably will ask everyone to take a polygraph. Myself included. I don’t mind. I’ll jump right on it. We’re going to find out. We were going to temporarily suspend all the members for 24 hours until we got some grasp on what was going on but then when the account numbers got leaked, we elected to terminate the chief and the assistant chief.”

“Something’s got to be done. They talking about communications and we communicate what we need but we don’t get communicated with what we got. So we don’t know what kind of funds we got. We don’t know what we can order,” said George Day, the former assistant chief.

On October 20, the town council gave the fire department a list of things they would like to see but Mayor Miller said there’s been no response. 

He added, “We have to do something. We have to find out. We have to know because it’s not over. Someone is going to held accountable for this.”

Mayor Miller denied that he or any other elected person in Wagener stole any money and the suspension will not hinder response times.

Continue to stick with us on this developing story.

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