City business on back burner as mayor bickers

Gray’s city council has gotten a lot accomplished during the past couple of years, despite one person dominating conversation at every meeting – the one person who has no vote.

Councilman Terrell Fulford made the point when Mayor Stephen Tingen said that the city’s volunteer firefighters were unhappy and coming to him to share their concerns.

He reminded the mayor the firefighters were complaining to the one person who had no power to do anything about it.

So what method did the mayor use to get his point across, outline the problems and make his case for the resignation of the city’s fire chief?

The usual method – bullying. Although, it’s tough to be a bully when you have no authority. Here are a few of the mayor’s statements that illustrate the disrespect he has for anyone who disagrees with him and the embarrassment it causes for our community.

— “There’s a reason I haven’t been coming. It’s because of you, and you just don’t want to hear it.”

— “Firefighters don’t have the mentality complain.”

— “You don’t like the facts, Max Wood [fire chief].”

— “People who live and breathe firefighting, people are leaving because of you.”

— To city council: “You hire impotent [sic] people who don’t do their damn job.”

— “Didn’t I get a check and a bonus because I met the requirements for 2015?”

— “Your little political game isn’t gonna fire me.”

— “Somebody needs to put little chief in check.”

When asked by Councilman David Tufts to name specific reasons of why Wood should be fired, he mentioned petty politics and something about a key to the bathroom.

There has been a legitimate issue of how to share space since a county fire truck is housed within the city fire station, which also serves some area outside of the county.

Wood and Jones County Fire Chief Don Graham are both intelligent and qualified leaders and can work it out.

Fulford said during the March 31 committee meeting — when the tantrum broke out at city hall – that he has asked Graham several times what he thinks of Wood. He said Graham always says Wood is the right person to be fire chief for Gray.

According to Wood, the firefighters have agreed that Tingen is the problem and as a group decided to vote him off the island. He wouldn’t sign the letter Wood presented but drafted his own resignation letter. 

Gray’s city council members deserve credit for conducting city business despite the obstruction and incessant comments that disrupt every meeting.

To be fair, audio of the committee meeting is included with this week’s story on the committee meeting. Listen for yourself.


The Jones County News

P.O. Box 1538
Gray, GA 31032
(478) 986-3929