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New Charger fuels debate on city board

By Bonnie L. Jackson News Editor
The Hazlehurst Board of Aldermen routinely approved the April claims docket during last Tuesday’s regular monthly meeting,  with the exception of one item – a black 2011 Dodge Charger that was purchased for the fire chief and that has been a thorn in the side of the board for several weeks.
The Board unanimously approved the purchase of a vehicle for the chief during the March meeting, but no clarity was given as to what type of vehicle.  The minutes reflect the general term ‘vehicle’. Some board members thought they had agreed to the purchase of a truck.
Once the car was purchased, three members of the board–Rick Akin, Daryl McMillan and Ron Sims–wanted the vehicle returned, and a truck purchased that would more correctly reflect the duties of a fire chief.
Fire Chief Gabe Harvey disagreed on Monday.  “I can carry all of the necessary equipment I need to fight a fire (in the car) when the need arises plus three other firefighters and their gear,” Chief Gabriel Harvey explained.    He added that several other items could be transported in the sports coupe, which is customized as an emergency vehicle.
In an executive session last month, the board voted three to two to rescind the purchase of the car, but Mayor Henry Banks vetoed the measure.
“The city is now stuck with the car. It is considered a used vehicle now,” said Mayor Banks.
Some members of the board will agree to keep the car if it is transferred to the police department. The city will then possibly purchase a new truck for the fire department.

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