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Murrells Inlet Garden City Fire District passes 2014 budget; FOIA requests from board not yet met

  • Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Murrells Inlet Garden City Fire District board of directors passed its $3.4 million budget on third reading at its regular meeting this month.

Included was $50,000 for a new Ford 615 ambulance, which will cost a total of $188,469 from a company called Road Rescue.

Also included in the budget, as reported previously, is a new vehicle for Chief Norman Knight and an employee pay increase of $1,500 per person per year.

The department will also add two employees at about $32,000 each per year, plus benefits.

FOIA requests

Concerned citizens Wendy Swindel and Jimmy Lee spoke during the public comment portion at the beginning of the meeting.

Their requests for meeting minutes and recordings of meetings, as well as information about pay scale and retirement have yet to be answered completely.

“I haven’t gotten an answer yet for most of my questions,” Lee said.

“One of the forms they sent me they didn’t send the whole thing.”

Al Hitchcock, chair of the board, told Lee that they will work to get him all of the paperwork he has requested.

Lee said he is most concerned about the fact that firefighters get annual leave, but no sick leave.

“To me, it is appalling that a public service organization where someone could not come home after a shift would lump sick leave with annual leave,” Lee said.

Swindel said that since the fire board records its meetings on audio tapes, it is difficult to make a copy. She is now trying to find a double tape machine for the job.

She said in the written meeting minutes she received, there were segments where she spoke to the board that were left out completely.

Lee said he, Swindel and others will continue to ask questions of the board.

“All we are looking for are answers and we are not going away,” Lee said.

“In today’s world, people feel lucky to have a job and they might not want to speak out because they have families and expenses.

So, it is up to people like myself and a couple of others to speak for them.”

Lee said he expects to get answers to his questions at the next board meeting on Monday, Jan. 27.


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