Selma — A three-hour meeting Wednesday night helped bring some closure to the recent rift among Selma Fire Department members, the mayor and the town manager.
The manager suspended 10 firefighters last week after they walked off the job in protest of his decision to replace their volunteer fire chief – who has been with the department for more than 30 years – with a paid, full-time chief.
To protest the move, the firefighters placed their gear at Mayor Charles Hester’s house on June 7. They acknowledged at Wednesday night’s meeting that it was not the right course of action, Town Manager Stan Farmer said. The meeting was closed to the public.
Farmer agreed to reinstate six of the 10 suspended firefighters, which will take effect Friday. Two others resigned after being suspended. Assistant Fire Chief Alvin Heath was fired after leaving threatening messages on Mayor Charles Hester’s voicemail, Farmer said.
One firefighter's suspension was lifted after town leaders learned he didn’t participate in the protest.
The firefighters wanted the town to hire a full-time engineer to help maintain equipment instead of hiring the chief.
On Tuesday night, the town board voted to move forward with a budget that includes a $55,000 salary for a new, full-time chief.