Jackson eliminated as candidate for permanent fire chief job

But Merkison is among top three applicants

— The tenure of Clayton County's first African-American fire chief will be a short one.

Interim fire chief Dwayne Jackson did not make the list of three finalists county commissioners want to interview next month for the permanent fire chief position, Human Resources Director Renee Bright announced late Tuesday.

The finalists are Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Chief Landry Merkison, Riverdale fire Chief Brenda Willis and Atlanta Fire Rescue Department Deputy Chief/Chief of Staff Wilmond Meadows.

Commissioners will interview the finalists in public during their Nov. 5 meeting.

As for Jackson, he may return to his previous position of county fire marshall. He has led the department as the interim fire chief since previous fire Chief Jeff Hood retired July 19. With the interviews three weeks away, a new chief may be named Nov. 5 or Nov. 19.

While Merkison had been expected to be a finalist, the exclusion of Jackson's name from the list is a bit surprising since county employees had expected both men to be considered until the very end.

As he walked out of the commission meeting with an upbeat Merkison Tuesday night, Jackson smiled and exclaimed "the madness is over."

Read Friday's Clayton News Daily for an update to this story.