AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Captain Daniel Steele said he was speaking as an officer with the Augusta Professional Firefighters Association and took aim at the selection process for fire chief.
“The way the process has been handled, the secrecy behind closed doors, nobody has asked how this guy became the number one candidate,” said Steele.
Antonio Burden was named sole finalist for the job last month after a total of four candidates were interviewed.
Following a media lawsuit, the City released the names of the other three finalists. City records show that Burden wasn’t ranked in the top ten by the city’s own search firm.
He was not presented by the company they’re paying over 20 thousand dollars for. How did this guy become that guy, said Steele.
The fire chief selection process has been criticized by some commissioners, but that number is now growing.
“So many things have happened within it, decisions made, new applicants came to the table, the recruiting aspect of it, what the feedback was, it is concerning as a commissioner so for me I think it’s smart that we start the entire process over.
“If they want to go back through, I could go along with that if not we could select from the other three candidates,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.
“I think that it is time to start over I think the best quality of candidates were not chosen,” said Commissioner John Clarke.
Burden was the favorite of most commissioners last month but City leaders being warned if selected Burden would take the chief job under a cloud.
“Of course, he would. Yes, I mean would we support him yes, but he doesn’t hold the qualifications.
When it comes to the fire chief job, city leaders are feeling the heat.
Commissioners took no action on the fire chief a vote on whether to approve Burden is scheduled for next week.