Citing a desire to go in another direction, Monroe County Mayor Mitch Ingram fired Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director David Chambers last week.
Ingram said there was no specific reason Chambers was fired, but Chambers’ wife brought a letter, which was addressed to Ingram, to The Advocate & Democrat calling it “politically driven.”
Savonna Chambers wrote, “If you recall, upon your election, (Mayor Ingram), David came to you and directly asked you if his position as director was in jeopardy and should he be looking into other avenues in attempt to protect his family. David is honest and believed you when you assured him he did not have to worry. Mayor Ingram, today he is worried and my faith has wavered.”
Ingram said he “felt the office needed a new direction” and while he is conducting interviews this week, EMS Director Randy White has agreed to handle the office for most of February because the County Commission, whose next meeting is on Feb. 26, has to approve whoever Ingram wants to hire.
Ingram would not comment directly on personnel matters involving Chambers, but said the job used to be a part-time position.
“It went full time a couple of years ago,” Ingram said. “That was basically a state mandate and while you don’t think of Monroe County as being the type of place where disasters happen very often, the director is tasked with keeping the county prepared for what might happen.”
Ingram also said the director also acts a liaison between the county and the rural fire departments and Monroe County Rescue Squad.
“In most counties,” Ingram said, “the volunteer fire departments and rescue squads are all together, but here we have 15 separate rural fire departments and the Rescue Squad is also its own entity.”
The director also works to assist people during tornadoes, earthquakes, hazard material spills and any other disasters that might happen.