Stimpson and Council Say No Deal for Fire Chief

Stimpson and Council Say No Deal for Fire Chief

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At City Hall, one controversial appointment is over. Now, will another come up, and are the two, one water, one fire, connected as some people have speculated?


Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s deadlock-ending endorsement of his predecessor Sam Jones to the MAWSS Board finished one appointment controversy, but it renewed questions about another- the lingering issue of interim Fire Chief Randy Smith.

On the job since November, Smith still carries the “interim” tag because his nomination by Stimpson has never been approved by the council.

The matter was on the agenda in January but that meeting was wiped out by the ice storm, and the nomination hasn’t been brought up again.

 Fred Richardson has questioned the appointment of Smith who won a reverse discrimination lawsuit against the city in 2007.That’s led many to speculate on social media and on talk radio this week that a possible deal was worked out to trade Jones’ appointment for Smith’s.

“You got to wonder in the political bartering game, did Mayor Stimpson get something for his support of the Jones vote,” questioned FM Talk 106.5 host Sean Sullivan, echoing the suspicions of his listeners?

But council members and the mayor emphatically say there’s been no quid pro quo

“There was no deal,” said Stimpson.

“Absolutely not,” added Councilman Levon Manzie. “That’s not the kind of politics I want to part take in. This was a matter of principle for me so only another matter of principle could have served as a compromise. It’s up to the mayor and the administration on how they move forward with Fire Chief Randy Smith.”

Chief of Staff Colby Cooper tells News-5 today there are no immediate plans to put Smith up for nomination and that, “Chief Smith understands that his confirmation…. is contingent on his ability to build the necessary relationship, trust and confidence with the members of the City Council charged with confirming such a nomination.”

As for a Public Safety Director, Cooper says the administration is not presently conducting a search but is instead evaluating whether there is a need for the position.


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