City council tables vote for interim fire chief

On Tuesday morning, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson tabled the motion to make interim fire chief Randy Smith, the next fire chief of Mobile.

The decision came in the pre-council session before Tuesday night’s city council meeting. It was made because not all of the council members are on-board with the Mayor’s appointment. City councilmen Fred Richardson and Levon Manzie do not support Mayor Stimpson’s choice.

“I think that after talking with Interim Fire Chief Smith and also after listening to the sentiments of the people who have elected me to serve and be their voice, it is been their choice that we look further and we search deeper,” said Manzie. “He’s off the table. I’m not even commenting about him. The mayor withdrew him. He’s not under consideration by the council. I have nothing to say. We don’t have to consider him. The mayor’s tabled that. I have nothing further to say,” said Richardson.Neither councilmen offered up any specific names when asked about their choice for fire chief at Tuesday night’s city council meeting held at the Mobile Museum of Art. However, they both voiced their thoughts on traits they would like to see in a fire chief.

“Someone with leadership, someone with skill set, someone with the mindset to make certain that opportunities are equal across the board,” said Manzie.

“We need to somebody that will help us do better. We are “One Mobile.”  We need someone to offer the same opportunity,” said Richardson.

In 2007, Smith sued the City of Mobile and former Mayor Sam Jones for reverse-discrimination. The federal lawsuit was settled and Smith was promoted to Deputy Chief,

“I’m not…I’m not commenting about the lawsuit. He had the right to file. He filed it I’m not I’m not judging about a lawsuit,” said Richardson. He said that it did not play a part in his decision making. Manzie agreed.

Even though Richardson said gender nor race played a part in his choice for fire chief, he does want a more diverse fire department.

“If you want to talk about the stats of the mobile fire department, is about 8% female, 19% African-American, and 80% white. I would like a significant change,” said Richardson.

As interim fire chief Smith waits for a resolution, he said he is happy with all the support he has received.

“The mayor supports me 110% I support the mayor, and his administration. I look at myself as being a support leg in the superstructure and I’m here to support him anyway I can. I’m here to support the men and women of the mobile fire rescue department and together we’re going to continue whatever comes out comes out, but we’re going to continue to make sure the mobile fire rescue department is ready to respond to anytime of the emergency or disaster the city can see,” said Smith.

A date has not been set for a vote on Smith’s appointment.


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