Ft. Oglethorpe residents seeks answers to Friday firings - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Ft. Oglethorpe residents seeks answers to Friday firings

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FORT OGLETHORPE, GA. (WRCB) -- Three days after a major shake-up at Fort Oglethorpe's city hall, citizens are demanding an explanation.

Former City Manager Ron Goulart says he resigned on Friday when it was made apparent he would be fired.

Once Harold Silcox was named Interim City Manager, he personally fired the police chief and public works director.

Now the public wants to know why.

"I'm a citizen of Fort Oglethorpe and was proud to be," said resident Fred Cagle, "until what happened Friday."

It was a heated meeting in Fort Oglethorpe, the first since the three high-ranking city employees were, in one fashion or another, forced out.  Residents packed the chamber. They wanted to vent to the men many felt staged a back-room coup, and they wanted some answers.   "I have never seen anything like this in my whole life, said resident Leon Petty.  "And you really should tell us why."

"I think that everybody here is here to find out what happened and why," added another Fort Oglethorpe resident.

"I'm not here to berate anybody or for any other agenda," said Derick Rodgers.  "It just doesn't make sense.  It doesn't make, you know, the people of this city are outraged.  It doesn't make sense and there doesn't seem to be a good explanation."

Interim City Manager Harold Silcox said nothing as the speakers continued for almost two hours.  The other council members sat quietly, as well.  When they finally retired to a closed door meeting, Channel 3 posed a few questions.

To the newest council member, Clay Kissner, sworn in Friday before the political drama began, we asked, "Do you feel like your voters need an explanation or an apology?"

"I'm gonna talk with the city attorney about that," Councilman Kissner answered.

We asked Mayor Lynn Long why no explanation was offered.  "I think our attorney gave a legal opinion," he responded.  "I cannot talk about personnel issues."

Mayor Long said he was impressed by the turn-out, nearly a hundred strong, but sad it takes something like this to fill the room.  He added, he feels the reasons for the firings will come out in public hearings, if those let go choose to appeal.

He said he has no regrets and to those who showed up to complain and, in some cases, personally attack him, he said, "I'm a big boy," but added,  "I don't feel I owe them an apology."

Mayor Long also hinted the firing of public works and recreation director Jeff Long was the result of his vote as a member of the Catoosa County Commission to de-annex a tract of city land.

Legal action may follow.

Former Fort Oglethorpe Police Patrolman Jeff Holcomb is serving as Interim Police Chief.


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