Clinton Names Interim Fire Chief to Investigate

The City of Clinton this (Friday) afternoon received a statement from the City of Clinton, which was called a response to action taken by Council during the special called meeting Thursday evening. It states the information is in response to action taken during Thursday’s meeting.

Here is the statement:

The City Council of Clinton and City Manager Bill Ed Cannon would like both the citizens of Clinton and personnel of the city to understand the decision made during the special called meeting of Council on Thursday August, 9, 2018 was made based on Council and Cannon’s desire to improve efficiencies and to ensure the safety and welfare of our citizens AND our personnel.  City Manager Bill Ed Cannon, apologizing for his angry outburst following questions from the media after the Council meeting ended said, “I apologize for the manner in which I replied; however, it was due to the passion I have to ensure the safety of our citizens and personnel.  Just hours prior to the Council meeting I saw a video (attached to this press release) that was proof to me we had narrowly avoided a potentially fatal fire scene due to the lack of professional training of our personnel.”

Early Friday morning, Mayor Bob McLean said, “I want to assure our citizens and personnel that this was not a knee jerk reaction, it was a decision that has been and continues to be studied and deliberated to determine what is in the best interest of the safety of our citizens.”  McLean went on to say, “no fire fighter nor police officer has been slated to lose their job simply as a result of the transition back to stand alone police and fire departments. In fact this may require we hire additional fire and police staff to ensure our citizens receive the best fire and police protection.”

Since beginning his duties as City Manager in January, Mr. Cannon has been concerned about the training of our public safety personnel; therefore, he made a FOIA request to the South Carolina Fire Academy to obtain the training records of the public safety personnel.  After a review of these records and a report from former Training Manager at the South Carolina Fire Academy Phillip Russell, Mr. Cannon made the decision to propose the ordinance that was approved on first reading at last night’s special called meeting.

 

As of Friday morning, Mr. Cannon has accepted an offer from Mr. Russell to serve as Interim Fire Chief and has been given the duty to form an investigative team to conduct a formal internal investigation of the fire that occurred on August 8, 2018 as well as training records of public safety personnel.   Mr. Russell has thirty-two years in the fire service, twenty of which was with the South Carolina Fire Academy.

 

WLBG notes that in email correspondence regarding the notice, Larry Franklin of the Clinton Chronicle asked for an explanation of an explanation of what the video was, and what in the video shows “lack of professional training.” He also asked if anyone had talked with Public Safety Director Robin Morse about this video in particular and, in general, about dissolving the Public Safety Department.

The response from the city was, “The City of Clinton has reserved any further comments until the internal investigation has been completed.”