City Council reacts to Mayor’s release about fire chief positions

Published 10:30 am Saturday, June 15, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Selma City Council reacted to Mayor James Perkins’ statement on the appointments of interim fire chief and assistant interim fire chief.

On May 28, the city council named Coley Byrd interim fire chief to replace Franklin Edwards and Walter Dailey was voted to remain assistant interim fire chief.

City Council President Billy Young and councilman Clay Carmichael responded to Perkins’ announcement. 

Email newsletter signup

“I vehemently disagree with the mayor’s accusations,” Young said. “The Selma City Council operated lawfully, ethically and effectively in its appointment of the interim fire chief plain and simple. I would not have supported the action if it was not in the best interest of Selma. The Council is not the problem.”

Carmichael said the situation is not a permanent one. 

“Interim just means temporary until we find something permanent,” Carmichael said. “It is not a separate position. When a chief is appointed, an interim no longer exists. This is common sense. He’s making word salad out of something quite simple. Interim officers have the same appointment as the offices themselves, as outlined in the law. The Selma City Council did not vote to remove anyone. That is not necessary for an interim appointment, as explained above Interim means day to day, hour to hour. Interim can be replaced at any time with a permanent or another interim position.”

Carmichael said he doesn’t know the status of Edwards’ current position, calling it a human resources and personnel matter.

Carmichael also said he doesn’t understand Perkins’ intent to the situation,

“I’m not sure why he’s mentioning an employee suing the city,” Carmichael said. “That kind of threatening language coming from an elected official is not good for the incorporated City of Selma or the citizens. Most legal counsel would advise against such language. Again, Perkins tries to throw blame at the Selma City Council for Edwards not having a position. The Selma City Council did not vote to remove or terminate Edwards. In fact, this is the first time I’ve heard about him not having a position. It sounds like something else has happened since our vote that involved day to day operations, not a legislative action.”

Carmichael said Byrd was informed of the possible position change from being a fire investigator.

“I personally let fire investigator at the time Coley Byrd know that I would make a motion to appoint him as Interim fire chief and asked him to be there,” Carmichael said. “He is the highest ranked, longest-consecutive-serving fireman. That’s why I motioned to make that appointment. I told him I don’t know if he’ll get it, but I can’t imagine the council not doing that after the information we received. I motioned for an appointment, and I thankfully got enough votes to move forward. There are many issues being found in the Selma Fire Department.“