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Dee Griffin hired as Augusta Fire Department's public information officer

Thursday, July 24, 2014 8:02 PM
Last updated 9:07 PM
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An Augusta native with a background in TV news is becoming the new voice of Augusta Fire Department.

New fire safety educator and public information officer Dee Griffin will “assure the public is more aware of activities ... going on with the fire department and assure the media is quickly and adequately aware of things that are going on,” said Fire Chief Chris James.

The position is an expansion of duties previously held by the department’s fire safety educator position, James said. It pays around $51,000, he said.

Griffin, who attended Immaculate Conception Catholic School and Aquinas High School, then Fisk University and a journalism master’s program at Northwestern University, co-anchored for WJBF with former mayor Bob Young during the mid-1990s. She went on to stations in Hartford, Conn., Kansas City, Mo., and Memphis, where she stayed for eight years.

“It’s pretty ironic. When I was eight years old I won the fire prevention week essay contest,” Griffin said.

Her imaginative essay was about Rip Van Winkle awakening to Augusta’s Great Fire of 1916. Griffin said she’s excited about helping the city commemorate the devastating fire’s 100-year anniversary in two years.

“Now that I’m on board we’re trying to put all the components together,” Griffin said. “The chief really wants to do something.”

Besides her PIO duties, Griffin said she will continue the city’s program of educating the public, especially kids, about fire safety. She will use social media, write press releases and be available to answer media questions when incidents occur.

James said Griffin will also keep the public better informed about the good work done by Augusta Fire Department that sometimes gets overlooked, such as its dive team and hazardous materials team, both of which travel outside Augusta-Richmond whenever a neighboring county needs help.

Although the position isn’t a new one, two Augusta commissioners said they were surprised to learn it had been filled, likely requiring approval by interim administrator Tameka Allen.

“As far as I knew, all positions had been frozen,” Commissioner Donnie Smith said.

“Especially when firefighters need raises and budgets are tight,” Commissioner Joe Jackson said.

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pgapeach2
1238
Points
pgapeach2 07/24/14 - 08:20 pm
7
0
Especially when firefighters

"Especially when firefighters need raises and budgets are tight" Commissioner Joe Jackson said. No one thought about the firefighters needing a raise or the budget when they spent almost $20.000 dollars and did not hire a city administrator.

corgimom
33969
Points
corgimom 07/24/14 - 08:27 pm
2
1
I think it will be more than

I think it will be more than that, once the expense reports get turned in.

The Marriott isn't cheap.

shelby547
272
Points
shelby547 07/24/14 - 08:28 pm
7
0
Blame Deke

Blame Deke for the administrator fiasco. They have a right to be upset with this hire. This seems like a waste of money on a position that isn't a necessity.

Just My Opinion
5850
Points
Just My Opinion 07/24/14 - 08:37 pm
8
1
Everyone else is expected to

Everyone else is expected to tighten their belts and work harder with less, and the Fire Dept hires a spokesperson??? Really?? The Augusta fire fighters have GOT to be upset about this slap in the face. This is simply an obvious public relations move, and the fire dept does NOT need a PR campaigner! Misappropriation of funds. Someone needs to block this hire, and now!

TrulyWorried
15319
Points
TrulyWorried 07/24/14 - 10:33 pm
8
0
New Hire - Augusta Fire Department

One thing we can not complain about in Augusta, surprises and odd things happening at the most inappropriate time. Makes it interesting to live in this area - mostly not for the best.

geecheeriverman
3065
Points
geecheeriverman 07/25/14 - 06:07 pm
6
1
W H A T ! ! !

What happened to the hiring freeze? I liked Dee Griffin as a TV Reporter, and I have nothing against her, however why would the Fire Dept need a PR spokesperson? Just the beginning of what is going to happen starting JAN 1st. Look out A/RC taxpayers, you are fixing to see the beginning of pocketbook drain the likes of nothing you have ever seen. Think Detroit, Birmingham, and many other cities that have a majority of elected policymakers who are black!!

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3100
Points
Karen Slater-McDaniel 07/25/14 - 11:47 pm
0
5
Congratulations

Congratulations Dee. You will be great in this position. You have my support 100%. Best wishes.

Riverman1
86823
Points
Riverman1 07/26/14 - 06:15 am
7
1
Voice Of The Fire Department

Voice of the Fire Department should be someone who can scream a loud siren like sound as trucks pull out.

Pops
10365
Points
Pops 07/26/14 - 07:23 am
7
1
I think that this is only

the beginning of dubious hiring and staffing you will see under this "new" commission.....

dichotomy
34336
Points
dichotomy 07/26/14 - 10:07 am
4
1
"Think Detroit, Birmingham,

"Think Detroit, Birmingham, and many other cities that have a majority of elected policymakers who are black!!"

Was this job advertised and hired properly and legally. Did our black Human Resources director follow all of the rules and was it authorized by the Commission? Were any white folks allowed to apply? How long was the job announcement on the street? How many applicants were there for this job? How many interviews were conducted?

When you have no idea of what it takes to earn money, you have no respect for spending other people's money. You ain't seen nothing yet. Hold on to your butts come January. I doubt you will see many white folks getting jobs in RC government. You can already take a look at our department heads and see the handwriting on the wall.

Consolidation sure didn't turn out to be all it was cracked up to be did it South Richmond County? We did not consolidate.....your tax money and total control were annexed. We got nothing....they got your money to do with as THEY wish....and hire who they wish....regardless of what the rules say.

That THUD you heard after District 6 runoff was white folks being totally shut out of Richmond County government....particularly from getting any significant or high visibility jobs.

just an opinion
2718
Points
just an opinion 07/26/14 - 02:03 pm
4
0
The Fire Dept. Does NOT need a spokesperson

When something BIG happens, Chief James can comment. He's always sounded fine to me.

Sweet son
10729
Points
Sweet son 07/26/14 - 03:52 pm
3
0
The true value of this hire:

"The true value of this hire will be the safety education part of the job." Sweet son. You guys know that I am laughing my arse off about this unbelievable WASTE of taxpayer dollars. This is even beyond laughable! It is nothing more than criminal to pull a stunt like this at this time. PIO's and fire education safety instructors should have with a deep knowledge of the fire fighting culture and this woman has neither.

AutumnLeaves
8437
Points
AutumnLeaves 07/26/14 - 04:31 pm
1
0
Who was the spokesperson a

Who was the spokesperson a few years back for the Richmond County Board of Education that used to be a newscaster? And didn't Augusta-Richmond County learn anything from what happened then? Just remembered: Mechelle Jordan.

jimmymac
42864
Points
jimmymac 07/26/14 - 04:24 pm
0
0
HIRE
Unpublished

This is the kind of stuff that got Detroit in trouble. Hire a person for a job that has dubious value at the same time you're asking for more money to pay fire fighters. Good lord only in a democratic controlled government could this happen.

whyme
1975
Points
whyme 07/27/14 - 08:49 pm
0
0
the facts

It is my understanding that there is likely more to this than has been reported so of course folks have the right to be angry without all of the information, if what I am hearing may be true. Here's hoping that more details on this will come forth, if any, and then we can all make judgement calls...or not...

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