Commissioners to discuss assessment findings

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Augusta, Ga (WJBF) Commissioners ordered the 25-thousand-dollar study last July after the Firefighters Association   called for the removal of Chief James the study does find issues in the department but wonders if there are the resources to fix them. 

The study says one of the top priorities for Fire Chief Chris James needs to be a mandatory department to reinforce the Chief’s commitment to employees.  

 I think that’s a good idea and I think that is something the Chief is willing to do. 

 The assessment warns that the chain of command is not being followed in the Fire Department. 

But there is also the issue of commissioners getting involved in Fire Department employee disputes, causing significant problems. 

 “I think we’ve done that several times and I try to bring it out we are getting out of our realm,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.  

“That’s a big problem but that’s a problem we could correct,” says Commissioner Bill Fennoy.  

 The assessment finds that a big problem for firefighters has been the addition of two ambulances at the Fire Department, “one of the most explosive voiced displeasures.” 

 “Absolutely and I have told him I told him if he got rid of the ambulances a lot of his problems would go,” says Commissioner John Clarke.  

But the study found problems with leadership in the fire department and a loss of respect warning it’s not easy to gain back respect. and now some city leaders saying the commission is prepared to look at a change of department leadership.  

 “I think there is enough there for the commission to get serious looking at make some changes I think we’re going to have to end up discussing that has a group,” says Commissioner Marion Williams.  

“We have to make some changes so I would not be surprised there will be a vote to ask for the chief’s resignation,’ said Commissioner Clarke.  

 Chief James did not respond to phone calls for comment commissioners will meet in legal session on Tuesday where personnel issues are discussed however the agenda topics are released to the public in Augusta George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6. 

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