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3 Augusta fire chief candidates named

Interviews are expected to be held in January

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An Arizona emergency manager who wants to return to Georgia and a South Carolina assistant fire chief pursuing a Ph.D. in fire and emergency management will compete with interim Chief Chris James to lead the Augusta Fire Department.

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David Greene  Special
Special
David Greene

City Administrator Fred Russell released the names and current titles of the three finalists, each of whom holds a master’s degree, after a committee's decision Monday to invite the three men in for interviews.

One finalist, Glenn Jones, is emergency and fire safety coordinator for the city of Peoria, Ariz. He said most of his job duties involve emergency management and workplace safety, but was quick to cite his Georgia background as deputy fire chief in the metro Atlanta suburb of Paulding County.

“I've been out here for about seven years,” said Jones, whose master's degree is in leadership with an emphasis on disaster preparation from Grand Canyon University. “It's time to go back to Georgia.”

As emergency and fire safety coordinator for Peoria, Jones works on his own most of the time, but Peoria public information manager Bo Larsen said that Jones made routine safety training fun and interesting for employees and that his emergency communication skills were excellent.

Another finalist, David Greene, is pursuing a Ph.D. in fire and emergency management at Oklahoma State University, said his boss, Colleton County (S.C.) Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy .

“He's extremely dedicated,” McRoy said of Greene. “He's worked his whole life to get to this point.”

Greene has a Web site, davidgreene.org, that details his work experience, education and articles published in Carolina Fire-Rescue EMS Journal.

Greene helped rural Colleton County, situated between Beaufort and Charleston, to merge numerous volunteer fire department into a single department and now oversees a staff of 70 full-time firefighters and approximately 200 volunteers, McRoy said.

The two finalists will be invited to Augusta in January to interview, along with James, who has served in the interim chief’s position since the October exodus under pressure of four of the department's top leadership.

At the time, James was the only member of the department's upper ranks to hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree. James has been with the department since 1987, most recently serving as training chief, and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Brenau University, with a concentration in management.

James, who received a $9,000 salary bump to serve as interim chief, has had to lead the department through morale issues and disorder that critics said was endemic under the six-year leadership of Howard Willis.

Willis, his two deputy chiefs and his brother Tommy Willis announced their retirements in October as the city investigated Tommy Willis’ misuse of city resources to steer fire victims toward the board-up company he managed, a botched investigation into a January fire that injured firefighter Steven Jenne, and other issues. All were already eligible for full retirement.

Russell said the three finalists “each bring a different set of skills and abilities to the table, but any of the three would serve us well.” He said he hopes to hire someone by March.

The city has yet to determine whether to hire a separate Emergency Management Agency director, a formerly salaried position that Howard Willis performed at no extra charge.

“That's a decision we'd have to make in conjunction with the mayor,” Russell said, because, under Georgia law, the EMA director reports to the mayor.

The committee that interviewed fire candidates by telephone included Rus­sell, Deputy Administrators Tameka Allen and Bill Shanahan, and the fire chief of Sandy Springs, Ga.

Russell said he had brought in his former Richmond, Va., colleague Jack McElfish, who is now the chief in Sandy Springs, because “he knows the business.”

McElfish is helping out at no charge to the city, Russell said.

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corgimom
33151
Points
corgimom 12/19/11 - 06:09 pm
0
0
The two non-locals- sure hope

The two non-locals- sure hope they understand exactly what they are getting into.

I found this at the end of an 2011 article that David Greene wrote-
David Greene has over 20 years experience in the fire service and is currently the Assistant Chief with Colleton County (SC) Fire-Rescue. He is currently working on his PhD through Oklahoma State University. He is a certified Executive Fire Officer through the National Fire Academy, holds the Chief Fire Officer Designation and is an adjunct instructor for the South Carolina Fire Academy. He is also a Nationally Registered Paramedic, is certified through Fire Officer IV, a Resident Fire Marshal and a certified Fire and Explosion Investigator through the National Association of Fire Investigators. He can be reached at dagreene@lowcountry.com.

He seems very qualified.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 12/19/11 - 06:34 pm
0
0
And the finalists

And the finalists are...

Commissioner A's cousin, Commissioner B's nephew and Commissioner C's golf partner.

Riverman1
84889
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Riverman1 12/19/11 - 07:17 pm
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David Greene is Asst Chief in

David Greene is Asst Chief in Colleton County at Walterboro, SC. That's a small town. I still say Chris James is the person for the job because he knows the county and department.

itsanotherday
0
Points
itsanotherday 12/19/11 - 07:50 pm
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Whoever is not white will be
Unpublished

Whoever is not white will be the choice. Gotta have that tit for tat in Augusta.

DDraper009
0
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DDraper009 12/20/11 - 12:45 am
0
0
There was a 38 y/o

There was a 38 y/o Paramedic/Firefighter with 18 yrs experience, Gema Certified Emergency Manager (which is required by state law for EMA Directors that Augusta needs) Nationally Certified to instruct and practice Hazardous Materials Technician, Teach all components of FEMA Incident Command, Bachelors Degree in Fire Science (3 classes short of Master Degree) Ga. State adjunct instructor in firefighter survival techniques, and has actual command experience in emergency situations which none of these top 4 have. Yes he's younger than the top 4 but that's exactly what this department needs. A youthful, different perspective on the fire service to enhance growth and well being of the city it serves. He grew up in Augusta went to hephzibah high school and has made Augusta his home. Only to apply and not make the top 4. So, in 3 yrs when this chief leaves, I will have a Masters Degree in Fire Science and hopefully the people of Augusta will get a Fire Chief who is loyal to the city and the fire department. Rather than themselves and their future accomplishments.

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 12/20/11 - 01:58 am
0
0
I can't remember ever having

I can't remember ever having a fire chief, don't really think we need one at this point since we've been ok doing without for so long. Give the people that have been filling in a raise.

eagle
94
Points
eagle 12/20/11 - 05:03 am
0
0
Why don't they promote from
Unpublished

Why don't they promote from within? Seems to me that Mr. James is the logical choice. He knows the city, the dept., and.....oh wait. That would be too logical.

InChristLove
22480
Points
InChristLove 12/20/11 - 07:11 am
0
0
I don't see a problem with

I don't see a problem with promoting from within but I would hope that they would talk with the men who would be working under him and see what they have to say. With so much contraversy lately, it's possible they want to start with a clean slate to avoid any lingering issues (if any). If the men like Mr. James and speak highly of him, then I believe the job should go to him. He seems more than qualified. If the men don't, then why stir up more trouble.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 12/20/11 - 08:17 am
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0
Just a couple of point.
Unpublished

Just a couple of point. Obviously the people under consideration will not be involved in Emergency Management. If they were and that position is under the direct supervision of the Mayor, The the Mayor would have been involved with the interviews. We should be very careful about hiring over qualified people, especially if we expect them to stay for a long time. Is there a difference between a degree by internet and one obtained through classroom attendance? Just what fire safety qualifications do Tameka Allen and Bill Shanahan have in fire department management that qualified them to sit on an interview pannel? and BTW, where is the job requirements posted and what specific degree does it call for?

Little Lamb
46370
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Little Lamb 12/20/11 - 08:49 am
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Riverman wrote: I still say

Riverman wrote:

I still say Chris James is the person for the job because he knows the county and department.

“Knowing the county and the department” is a weak recommendation for any job. Nepotism and cronyism have been two things keeping Augusta away from the excellence she is capable of.

Little Lamb
46370
Points
Little Lamb 12/20/11 - 08:51 am
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MadGerman asked: Just what

MadGerman asked:

Just what fire safety qualifications do Tameka Allen and Bill Shanahan have in fire department management that qualified them to sit on an interview pannel?

Please, Allen and Shanahan need to gain all the experience they can. One of them will serve as interim administrator whenever six commissioners get fed up with Fred (What, me worry?) Russell and decide to fire him.

Rather
56
Points
Rather 12/20/11 - 09:54 am
0
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Why not Ronnie Few? We

Why not Ronnie Few? We already bought him a $2000 new suit and he has a $16 PhD degree from the internet. Goodness gracious.

elhawthorne
0
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elhawthorne 12/20/11 - 10:38 am
0
0
In reading the finalist for

In reading the finalist for the job, I did not want to professionally discredit individuals, I did not know. I think competition is the American way, so I applaud the selection process. But of course when you enter in you are placing yourself on display. So it is nothing personal. I worked in Augusta; Augusta is not like any other. If you can make it in Augusta: you can make it anywhere. I worked with and for the best in the industry who taught me more than I knew at the time and it has stuck with me to this day. K.Jones, B. Reynolds, I. Buckley.... I thank you all tremendously. I leave you all with this. Every fish is unique with his/her own pond. You have the gold fish, which change with his/her environment and can only survive with his/her own kind. I think of volunteer departments, not negatively of course, but usually Volunteers are entities that really are not exposed to different demographics or types of people. They usually forgo the Industry Standard for Firefighter Health and Safety. They are pretty much a club that if you are liked, you will be allowed to join (volunteer). Let us not take Augusta back to the type of organization that happens with volunteer agencies or agencies that interface with volunteer agencies. Let us reflect on the Charleston, SC Furniture Fire that killed and injures Firefighters. I am from South Carolina and they do not have municipality departments like Augusta. They have Districts (Small and Volunteer Departments). I then think of the Trout (The Paper Champion of Fish) they look good on paper but are not proven in hostile environment, they out-compete by overpopulation, artificial propagation (fish farms) but when placed in the wild with bigger fish they usually are eradicated. They really would be of irrelevant species if placed in the wild. They are not the Apex predator. They survive under stress free conditions. This is my opinion when I think people who are in Quasi-Fire Service positions, and who occasionally supervise workers and who do not constantly have all the responsibility of Sworn Positions, examples being: Emergency Managers, Public Safety Liaisons, Industry Fire Brigades, Industrial Hygienist.... etc. They are good fish and will shine in there environment. But place them with a multitude of different fish (19 Fire Stations and 3 Shifts, Administrative Personnel, Different Divisions and the one and the one and only Augusta Political System. They would not be the Apex Predator (Top of the Food Chain). Last but not least, The Dolphin (the apex predator) it can survive with sharks and still interface with humans in the aquarium a rare intelligent breed. It can defeat sharks, but will not harm man. Can you imagine working in an environment under your leadership in which all 3 Upper management; either has GED or High School Diplomas. Do you think that is a controlled or hostile environment? And then you dare to attend Augusta Sate University and Brenau University MBA Program (not online learning, like I said; no knock against online learning because I am doing it). To survive in a hostile environment for 10 years as a "at will" employee is not an easy job in Augusta or elsewhere. I believe the reason that this Dolphin survive and continues to achieve success was: 1. Believe it or not he loves his current environment and refuses to leave the pod. 2. He does not have natural enemies, he only defends himself. 3. He can live with Sharks, defeat them and not manifest the behaviors of Sharks 4. He was the go to guy. That dolphin could have left Augusta and took an easy job long ago doing presentations and occasionally supervising people, or work as the Chief of a 50 or more paid-volunteer person department. But he stayed in Augusta. It is his home, he love the people and the culture. He worked to improve himself so he could help improve Augusta. He is not just a Chief for hire with a nice resume and luggage. I would choose the Dolphin. Show me any individual in the Fire Service that has been at the same department and obtained rank up to Chief Officer and held it for 10 years, attended the physical Colleges/Universities located in the Town, has paid taxes in the Town and own his house in the Town (not surrounding towns). There are not many in the Fire Service. But you have one of in Augusta. I don't think he owns luggage.

betcha2
42
Points
betcha2 12/20/11 - 11:02 am
0
0
Chief James has spent his

Chief James has spent his career here in Augusta. He knows the good, the bad, and the ugly within the department. He has not shyed away from making difficult decisions to correct problems inherited when he was appointed Interim Fire Chief. He's qualified, dedicated, and EDUCATED, not to mention hard working, caring, and honest. We have in-house the best man for the job. Outsiders will not have the same geniune care for the departrment and the community as somo
ne who as spent his fire career right next door in our community.

Little Lamb
46370
Points
Little Lamb 12/20/11 - 11:25 am
0
0
Betcha2 posted: Chief James

Betcha2 posted:

Chief James has spent his career here in Augusta. He knows the good, the bad, and the ugly within the department.

This is precisely why they need to hire someone from outside.

Lori Davis
944
Points
Lori Davis 12/20/11 - 03:49 pm
0
0
Seems more logical to me to

Seems more logical to me to use the new $100,000 position in the Mayor's office to hire an Emergency Management Agency Director. That would make me feel better about the use of our tax dollars.

Little Lamb
46370
Points
Little Lamb 12/20/11 - 03:58 pm
0
0
Hey, that really is a good

Hey, that really is a good idea, Lori. The commission already authorized the money for Deke, and I learned in this article that the EMA Director must report to the mayor (that pesky state law thing again). So whomever the mayor wants to be his community development guru can also take on the title of EMA Director at no extra charge.

Holdem
1
Points
Holdem 12/20/11 - 09:37 pm
0
0
Does anyone think for one

Does anyone think for one second that the black commissioners are going to overlook James and bring in a white guy?

Riverman1
84889
Points
Riverman1 12/20/11 - 09:41 pm
0
0
Holdem, the commission is

Holdem, the commission is majority white.

Holdem
1
Points
Holdem 12/20/11 - 10:36 pm
0
0
I know that River but this

I know that River but this will be another "along racial lines" vote..............

GodisSoGood
899
Points
GodisSoGood 12/29/11 - 01:45 pm
0
0
in response to betcha2's

in response to betcha2's post: "He's qualified, dedicated, and EDUCATED, not to mention hard working, caring, and honest. We have in-house the best man for the job. Outsiders will not have the same geniune care for the departrment and the community as somo
ne who as spent his fire career right next door in our community."

Sounds like the description for Chief Willis...he fit the same description, and you see what the dept and commissioners did to him. Be careful what you wish for. It won't be long before whoever gets the position will have someone coming after them as well.

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