City Council Approves All Berke Appointments; Fire Chief Adams To Retire Later This Year

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved all the appointees of Mayor Andy Berke to lead departments, though some faced some questions.

Among those approved was Fire Chief Chris Adams, who afterward confirmed that he is retiring later this year.

He was asked by one council member to stay on. He said he would like to be chief for a long time, but said it is unfair to others who should be in leadership posts.

Chief Adams became interim chief when Lamar Flint retired in April 2015, then he was named chief several months later. 

He joined the city fire department in 1990.

Lurone Jennings, administrator of Youth and Family Development, was asked by Vice Chairman Ken Smith "about the gorilla in the room - misappropriation of funds."

Mr. Jennings said that did not involve city funds, but was a private program in which he was asked to raise and disburse money. He said, "It came to my attention that there was a conflict of interest related to my daughter."

He said he "accepted full responsibility" and served a brief suspension.

Mr. Jennings said, "There is no gorilla on my back. I am moving forward."

Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod said at the Eastdale Center "the staff has abandoned it totally. The computers don't work." Mr. Jennings said it was news to him, saying he would "check to see how accurate that statement is."

Councilman Anthony Byrd asked about morale and whether he listens to the concerns of staff.

Mr. Jennings said there was pushback to the mission of converting the centers from strictly sports to learning centers. "There was some disgruntlement," he said.

He added, "I was persecuted, but I feel like it was the right thing to do."

He was approved along with Blythe Bailey of transportation, Justin Holland of public works, James McKissic of multicultural affairs, Ron Swafford of City Court, Finance Director Daisy Madison, Tina Camba of human resources, Bonnie Woodward of purchasing and Theresa Lee as city treasurer.   

Also approved was Police Chief Fred Fletcher, who has announced he is retiring.

 


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