Burden called great pick for fire chief

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Antonio Burden got the needed votes to be named the next fire chief with no votes to spare, but his supporters say that is not be a concern.

“I think he’ll come in full throttle, have some great ideas, look at the man’s resume look at his memberships look at his awards the man has had a great career. I think we made a great pick,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Bobby Williams.

The process of selecting the fire chief resulted in the city being sued that had some commissioners wanting to re-start the process, but a majority of commissioners did not see the need.

“There was no reason to if I saw a reason to. I could have gone along with it there was no reason to start all over because there was nothing negative about the candidate that was presented,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

Commissioner Sean Frantom called to re-do the search process, but work obligations kept him from Tuesday’s meeting.

“Six votes got it done yesterday that’s all I can say,” said Frantom.

Also having his say is City Administrator Odie Donald in an email to the mayor and commissioners he defended the selection process saying it was incorrect that he added Burden’s name to the pool of candidates, and while the city hired a search firm, as administrator it would have been a dereliction of duty if he didn’t have input.

However, some commissioners say the process leaves the new fire chief coming in under a cloud.

“I don’t know how welcoming the citizens are going to be we’ll see how long he sticks around,” said Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight.

“The cloud sometimes isn’t always a cloud, and it shouldn’t be any problem at all,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

But others have seen a problem with the fire chief process.


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