New fire chief doesn’t end search process controversy

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Now in his email to commissioners about the fire chief search process Administrator Odie Donald said he did not take any extraordinary steps to help candidate Antonio Burden, but he writes one Augusta commissioner hand delivered the resume of one of the candidates.

Commissioner John Clarke has been an outspoken critic of the fire chief selection process now he’s being criticized.

“This is just another ploy that the commission uses when their hand gets caught in the cookie jar, they deflect,” said Clarke.

In his e-mail to city leaders Administrator Odie Donald responded to the reports he placed Antonio Burdens name in the candidate pool, not true Donald wrote, however he wrote 10th district commissioner Clarke hand delivered the resume of a potential candidate.

Clarke doesn’t deny delivering the resume but says he didn’t influence the process.

“You ask Mr. Donald did I ever inquire as to anything about that resume after that the answer would be no, did I ever ask any questions of Ms. Rookard, (H.R. Director) about that resume the answer would be no,” said Clarke.

Donald in his letter writes as administrator it was his job to be involved in the selection process, and commissioners say he wasn’t pulling strings behind the scenes.

“Did Mister Donald lobby on behalf of Burden at all, was there outside influence there?”

“No, no, no,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Bobby Williams.

Now Donald does write no steps were taken out of the ordinary on the fire chief search he says he says it was the same process as the as the Utilities Department Director and the and the Environmental Services Department Director.


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