As council members slashed his budget, a blog post written by the Wilmington Fire Deptartment’s chief is leading to calls for his termination.
On Thursday night, the Wilmington City Council voted to defund the fire department by more than $500,000 and passed a resolution calling on Mayor Dennis Williams to eliminate eight vacant positions in the department.
Wilmington Fire Chief Anthony Goode voiced his opposition to those measures in a post on his blog, WilmFireChief.com. In a post dated July 5, Goode encouraged residents to support the fire department and to tell their council representatives to do the same. Goode wrote that if residents didn’t speak up, he would assume they support cutting firefighter positions.
“In doing so, all of those Council districts will be the districts that we will be forced to consider reducing coverage in!,” Goode wrote.
Republican Councilman Mike Brown, who voted for the cuts, saw that statement as a threat to residents in his district.
“It’s certainly not a good image for the fire department to have a chief going off making those blatant, threatening remarks about citizens in this city,” Brown said. “Shame on the mayor for allowing it to continue. I think the mayor should put his foot down and terminate him.”
Goode responded to Brown’s call for his termination, saying he stands by what he wrote in his blog, “because it is true.”
“Every Council district will need to be considered when deciding where to reduce coverage.” Goode said Brown misrepresented his meaning. “That’s the way they presented it, as a tool to manipulate and turn others to be in favor of their ordinances.”
Williams has ten days to decide whether or not to veto the ordinance reducing funding for the fire department.