ANDERSON Co., SC (WSPA) – Firefighters across Anderson County are looking for change. This all coming after one of the governor appointed commissioners allegedly took to social media bashing a volunteer firefighter in his district.
“We rely on the volunteers, we are 100% volunteers for the fire fighting,” said Billy McAdams who is the Townville Fire Chief.
There are 850 plus men and women who volunteer in Anderson County.
“They are the ones coming to your house and your emergency for free,” McAdams said.
While they are volunteers, they answer to the county fire commission.
“It’s are our governing board,” McAdams said.
The board is made up of five people who each are appointed by the governor.
“Our group of fire chiefs, the majority in Andersen County, want to know why we are being held accountable for our actions and what we say on social media, but the higher ups are not,” McAdams said.
Commissioner Willard Wiles is not following those standards, according to McAdams.
Just last week, after documents stated Anderson Police Officer Jallas Carter resigned from the force after excessive force allegations, a negative post was posted to Wile’s Facebook. The post stated “When you send a BOY to do a MANS job” with a picture of Carter who is also a Homeland Park volunteer firefighter.
“He’s attacking all of public safety not just directed at firefighters it’s now been directed towards a police officer,” McAdams said.
Wiles commission seat sat empty at the monthly meeting on Tuesday as firefighters across the county showed up because they believe his actions on social media are hurting the departments. McAdams said this is at least the second negative post in the last six months towards public safety officials.
“If this continues to go on I’m worried that we will continue to lose the young people,” McAdams said.
Without volunteers, there is no force to fight the fires in the community. So McAdams said the group is asking the delegation to remove Wiles.
But now the firefighters need the delegation members to take their concerns to the governor.
7News reached out to Senator Mike Gambrell and Representative Jay West in Anderson County on if they have heard of these problems before, but neither returned our calls.
We also reached out to Wiles for comment, but received no answer.
At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, we spoke to Wiles fellow commissioners who said they were aware of the posts and did not condone his actions, but said they do not have the power to do anything only the governor can remove him.
But Commissioner Glenn Holliday did tell us he was having a one on one meeting on Wednesday with Gambrell, but would not confirm if these concerns would be discussed.