Florence fires chief after 15 years
A complaint that arose from a Nov. 20 fire apparently led to Florence fire chief Mark Slater being fired Monday.
Slater wasn’t present at Monday’s city council meeting when council members went into a closed session and fired him afterward.
The vote to remove Slater from the 15-member fire department without cause was 3-1 with council members Jeanie Meirowsky, Reilly Reid, and Matt Williams in favor and council member Mary Shipman opposed.
Mayor Bob Gayle does not vote except to break a tie.
City superintendent Terry Britton was appointed to replace Slater on an interim basis.
Slater is a 25-year veteran of the fire department and served as chief 15 of those years.
He said he was not officially notified of his termination until Tuesday, although one person told him what had happened Monday evening.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Gayle said:
“On Nov. 20, 2021, the fire department responded to a call of a permitted fire. As a consequence of that call a complaint was filed with the city of Florence.
“The city performed an investigation of the complaint and how the complaint was handled.
“Following the investigation, the governing body of Florence took action to remove the fire chief without cause.
“The governing body of the city of Florence’s primary responsibility is to protect the city of Florence, its citizens and members of the fire department. Unfortunately, difficult and painful decisions have to be made.”
Both Slater and Reid declined to comment.
Williams and Meirowsky could not be reached.