Posted: Wednesday, March 13th 2013 at 5:43am
Split vote upholds Banks County employee termination
By Rob Moore Editor
Former Banks County Fire Department Training Officer Richard Crowder, with attorney Joey Homans in the background, appeals to the Banks County Commission to allow him to resign rather than uphold his termination. (Photo/Rob Moore)
HOMER – A last-ditch appeal to the Banks County Commission by former Banks County Fire Department Training Officer Richard Crowder failed Tuesday night.
Crowder, accompanied by attorney Joey Homans, appealed his termination from county employment over what was said to be information contained in training forms signed by Crowder in late 2012.
Commissioner Charles Turk asked Crowder about training requirements and documents that showed one man having only 39.5 training hours, not the 95 required to test for Module 1 testing.
Crowder said numerous training logs were not included in the documents Turk was presenting.
“He attended a lot more hours than that,” Crowder said. “I don’t know where they’re [logs are] at."
Turk said he could only base his opinion on the forms he was provided.
Crowder pointed out that once he was terminated he was denied access to training records and other documents.
At issue apparently was Crowder's signing of a paper in December certifying training before the training was complete -- or at least before testing was complete, officials said.
Crowder said because of the deadline for certification, he did include the training but said he understood he could tell Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council to remove any unsuccessful candidates from the list, or simply notify them not to process the candidate.
"I also showed that sheet to the fire chief and I had no argument [from him] -- none," Crowder said.
Crowder said submitting training records pending the outcome of tests is fairly common practice in fire departments. He noted that he requested a needed CPR class -- one he is not qualified to teach -- several times, but that his requests were not acted on in a timely manner.
Asked whether he had emails to back up his claims, Crowder said he had given up on emails because they were ignored.
"It was futile on my part," Crowder said. "Is it now? Hindsight is 20/20."
In front of some 75 audience members, Crowder addressed commissioners, saying, “Gentlemen, all I ask is a chance to resign."
Following the 20-minute appeal hearing for Crowder, the commission entered closed session to discuss personnel.
Some 35 minutes later, when open session resumed, Commissioners Charles Turk and Sammy Reece voted against County Attorney/Hearing Officer Randall Frost’s recommendation to uphold Crowder’s termination. Commissioners David Duckett and Danny Maxwell, along with Chairman Jimmy Hooper, voted to uphold the termination.
Hooper previously had upheld Fire Chief Brian Eubanks’ termination of Crowder’s employment.
Immediately after the commission vote, Crowder and Homans left the building.
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