Controversy Around Slocomb Fire Chief Position

By: Demetria McClenton Email
By: Demetria McClenton Email

(Slocomb, AL)- Slocomb City Officials appoint a new Fire Chief, but the decision sparks controversy.

To douse the flames, Mayor Rob Hinson addressed the situation at Monday’s City Council meeting.

After 36 years of service and a solid track record, Volunteer Fire Chief Kenneth Ball turned in what he called a letter of termination.

Ball says he's disappointed with how the Mayor handled the situation and says he didn't have an opportunity to state his case.

“It was unbeknown to me, unbeknown to the whole fire department and we were informed it was already a done deal," said Ball after Monday night’s meeting.

With that statement, former Volunteer Fire Chief Kenneth Ball and some of his volunteer staff turned in their equipment.

“I've been here since I was 15 yrs. old and this is ridiculous. People in this town need to wake up," said Justin Myles who quit the Volunteer Department after the meeting.

But what prompted their actions was a statement by the City Attorney.

In 2009, Slocomb City Officials were supposed to appoint a new Fire Chief, Police Chief, City Attorney and City Clerk.

All positions were filled except for Fire Chief.

“Did you fail in your duties to elect a new fire chief? Then you don't have a fire chief," Ball told the Council.

But Slocomb Mayor Rob Hinson says that's not the case.

"I think the way the situation was incredibly fair. I went to his home and had a discussion with him," said Hinson.

He offered Ball a grant writing position, which he says plays to one of his strengths.

Ball declined the offer.

Hinson says the change will advance the Fire Deparmtent.

"We approved 23 firemen to be on the roster We have great equipment and a building built by the end of the year,” said Hinson.

Newly appointed Fire Chief Ronnie Smith didn't comment.

He is Captain for the Slocomb Rescue Squad and will receive a re-imbursable expense payment of $200 a month which was the same for Ball.

Mayor Hinson insists this wasn't a personal decision and says that homeowners rates will not change because of this move.


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