Tensions between a Charleston City Councilman and Mayor Joe Riley flared over a meeting held to discuss controversial personnel shifts announced by outgoing Fire Chief Rusty Thomas.
Councilman Jimmy Gallant resigned as Public Safety Committee chairman on Monday after the mayor abruptly canceled the meeting. The mayor stated that the meeting had not been been announced far enough in advance and that the city council had no place to question personnel moves.
For their part, many firefighters feel recent transfers are retaliation for speaking out about safety concerns after the Sofa Super Store fire, Live 5 News quoted an attendant Brian Rivers saying:
These are the majority of the guy that got transferred. These are the majority of the guys that you heard from that have stood up and tried to get the truth out because Mr. Mayor, unfortunately, the truth is lacking here.
Interim Chief Ronnie Classen later said:
We ask them to work with us. We're doing everything the report says to do. So let's move it up. Every body's has to take a part instead of complaining.