Turner: Morale factored into interim fire chief search

— Clayton County commissioners weighed complaints some firefighters made to Chairman Jeff Turner about department morale during their search for an interim fire chief.

The complaints played a role in a two-week delay in chosing a temporary leader for the department, although Turner would not say what the exact complaints were, or who made them. He said he could not divulge that information because the firefighters spoke to him confidentially about their concerns.

Those concerns were a factor in the commission’s decision to appoint Dwayne Jackson, the department’s deputy chief and fire marshal, as the interim fire chief Tuesday, said Turner.

“I’m not saying morale was God-awful or anything like that, but we wanted someone who would improve the morale,” said Turner. “There had been some issues, because I had heard from some firefighters that they needed change.”

Jackson’s appointment came as somewhat of a surprise because there had been widespread speculation in recent weeks that Hood’s second-in-command, Assistant Chief Landry Merkison, would likely get the interim job. Merkison was sitting a couple of seats away from Jackson when the appointment was made.

There was no public display of emotion with the decision by outgoing fire Chief Jeff Hood or other fire department employees who stayed late to see what commissioners would do about the interim position. After Jackson was appointed, Hood and the other employees were friendly and shook his hand but then left.

Hood was unavilable for comment Wednesday and Thursday because he was in meetings.

Turner wouldn’t say exactly how many employees complained about morale in the department, so it’s not clear if there is a widespread issue or if it is confined to a few individuals. He would only say “some of the employees” approached him with concerns.

“There’s 300-and-something firefighters that work for us and I have heard from some, and they may have been disgruntled employees or they may not have been,” said Turner. “But their concern was that the morale in the department was kinda low and they were hoping to see somebody with a new vision.”


OscarKnight 1 year, 5 months ago

..My take on Turner : On good help is hard to find in this county, and Turner is proof of this.


Robert 1 year, 5 months ago

"although Turner would not say what the exact complaints were,"

I can understand why Turner wouldn't want to say WHO made the complaints but to not say WHAT the complaints were only shows deception on the commissioner's behalf.

A certain little bird told me that Interim Chief Jackson is not the most qualified for the job and that some affirmative action put him in the Chief's spot. Sad, I had high hopes for Turner but I guess his true colors are beginning to show. . And in related news Detroit has filed for bankruptcy.


gmjch 1 year, 5 months ago

There's a reason for chairman not saying

Been around this county for many years, Chairman Tuner is as tasteless as all the politician as those before him. His decision to make Chief Jackson was purely political ! Chief Jackson is a good man that's caught up in Turners game of ( I GOT CHA ! ) with former fire Chief A. Cohilas.

The morale issues that exists, were created by the BOC, not the fire dept. management! They have not had a true raise in over 7 years, with the cost of living rising each and everyday. THE FIRE DEPT DOES NOT GIVE RAISES......The BOC are responsible for this.

Come on Chairman be honest! Tell the truth about your agenda, to get at those who you felt did you wrong when you where police Chief, and in the process you don't care about who, nor what you destroy in the process. The most decorated department in the county and all you can come up with is morale issues..... Why don't you ask the 300 plus other employees in that department.


Robert 1 year, 5 months ago

I will have to check with my sources but I think it's been more than 7 years and no one in the county, police, fire, rescue, sheriff's department, dispatchers, and maybe others haven't received a pay raise. Of course the county is saving money by not paying Porter while he's under investigation. ;-)


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