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Garner Town Council asks fire chief to resign

Posted May 25, 2010

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— Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said the Town Council asked the fire chief to resign Tuesday evening. The council passed a recommendation asking Phil Mitchell to step down by July 1.

The request comes after nearly $400,000 was discovered missing from the Garner Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department.

Fire department officials informed Garner town leaders in January of the missing money, which was uncovered during an outside audit of the department's books from July 2008 to June 2009.

When the State Bureau of Investigation was called to start looking into the situation, Amy Moore, the administrative assistant who handled the fire department's books, abruptly resigned.

Williams said Mitchell had nothing to do with the missing money but that he was being held accountable as head of the department.

The recommendation now goes before the fire department's Board of Directors. They are expected to call a special meeting to discuss whether Mitchell should resign.

The investigation into the missing money continues.

22 Comments

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  • collardbiscuit May 28, 2010

    I'd like to salute the firefighters at GVFD. These firefighters are extremely credentialed. The Chief demands it!If you don't believe it, go check it out. I would put them up against any FD in the state.Chief Phil Michell runs a tight ship, no question about it. He has devoted 40 years of his life to take care of the Garner Citizens. No, he isn't a push over and yes, he's very demanding of quality and performance.But hey,isn't that what you want?
    I have sat back and watched this whole mess unfold. I have seen how stories have been stretched and in the process of this stretching you have tried to destroy a mans reputation. Chief Mitchell has always done an excellent job and doesn't deserve this!

  • collardbiscuit May 28, 2010

    To the Johnson County commenter:

    Did you realize that Garner has sent their aerial truck to Johnston County over and over again at no cost? Hmmm. Ask your Fire Chief what he thinks about Chief Mitchell!

  • collardbiscuit May 28, 2010

    To Gra and Buck: You have wanted control over the fire dept. for many years but you couldn't get it. So, you've waited until the Chief had one black eye in his 40 year career to try and get it. You're acting like this incident with the embezzlement is the "deal". Who are you kidding? You said in the newspaper that you've lost confidence in Chief Mitchell. Why can't you man up and say that you've always wanted the control? You may win this battle but the Town of Garner and the precious firefighters of GVFD are on the losing end. This has always been a personal vendetta and you know it! What you need to do is get honest, bud! While your getting honest, how about get a life, as well.

  • gtownmadness May 26, 2010

    NO Amy Moore's husband is not a with the police dept. Her husband is a State Auditor.

  • gtownmadness May 26, 2010

    I can see most of you don't have a clue what you are talking about. This missing money has been going on for years, the auditors didn't catch it from year to year, it was extorted very well and WITHOUT the Chief's knowledge. Don't hear any of you complaining when they have been out fighting house, grass, car fires. Why can't everyone wait until the investigation is completed and you will find out who gets the blame.

  • tanner May 26, 2010

    $400,000 missing in one year is obviously a lot. There has to be some serious cash flow running through to be able to miss that much money and not raise some eybrows. Isn't Amy Moore's husband a police detective?

  • rwbe May 26, 2010

    Should he resign no. Chief Mitchell and the fire department board have for years spent money wisely and saved money and provided a great fire service. How many CEO's and governemnt agency heads do you see resign over embezzlement. None where someone embezzled the money. I have done major fraud investigations and I can tell you someone can take money for years and it not be found until you do a complete audit that is sometimes not done but every two years. Some of those same town council members who want him to resign have in the past tried to vote to take over the fire department. They need to get a life, stop being such baby's and go back to the daycare. Fire department tell them no dont bend to blackmail by a bunch of baby's on a town board. Maybe the town manager should resign along with Chief.

  • jsqaz963 May 26, 2010

    Does this mean we can hold Obama accountable for the oil spill and fire him too.

  • teachermom3 May 26, 2010

    The best thing that could ever happen to this dept is for the town to take it over. For the past couple of years, the paid staff, with the exception of the chief and a couple more, have not received a raise. Keep in mind, that these guys are already underpaid. Then, you have a position created as Deputy Chief. If the money is tight, where did the money come from to create that position? If the chief was doing his job, he would have been on top of the financial checks and balances and $400,000 would not be missing. He should have to resign and the town should take this dept over.

  • Robert Rogers May 26, 2010

    NC Fire Resq 29 - You do not know has much as you think you know. GVFD has been providing Extrication for close to 15 yrs now. As for the other disciplines of TR they have only been doing it for a couple of yrs. Two men and truck maybe good for a moving company but it is useless in a high angle rescue. At least the FD can get the manpower on scene with the working knowledge. I'm not knocking Garner Rescue's knowledge, but they cannot get the people on scene. Why should the town pay for Garner Rescue to perform one service, when they can give the money to the FD and they cannot not only provide the same service with more men, but they can know fully staff a third fire apparatus and perform two or more services. I'll agrue any day your statement "Garner rescue squad is much more trained in the rescue aspect of extrication trench rescue water rescue plus tons more" any day. I know personnel from both departments extremely well.

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