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New Long County fire chief abruptly resigns
Ludowici fire

After only three weeks at the helm, Ludowici/Long County Fire Chief Mark Deverger resigned Friday, citing lack of support from his department.

Long County Commissioners Chairman Dwight Gordon said Deverger submitted a letter of resignation Friday in which he said he did not feel that he had the support that he needed to be successful as the new chief.

“He said that not all of the people — including the assistant chief and a few more at the fire department didn’t support him — and he felt that if he didn’t have all of the support from the fire department, he needed to step down,” Gordon said.

Deverger had just been hired by the Board of Commissioners on Aug. 28, replacing former Chief Richard Truman, who retired. Deverger, who is still the chief of the McIntosh County Fire Department, received votes from commissioners Robert Long, Willie Thompson, Gerald Blocker and Gordon. Voting in opposition was Commissioner Clifton DeLoach.

Gordon said he is not sure if the commissioners can select another chief from the candidates who had recently been interviewed.

“I’m not sure if we can do that, but I would like to do something next week and hire somebody from the previous applicants,” he said.

Deverger’s resignation appears to be more evidence of the continuing conflict between the fire department and the county commissioners.

In June, some fire-department officers alleged that Blocker was driving fire trucks without authorization and wasn’t eligible to be a member of the department. Shortly after this, Assistant Chief Shawn Smith was suspended by the commissioners for insubordination toward Gordon.

Assistant Chief Randy Combs followed by posting a comment on a Facebook page stating that fire protection in the county could be in jeopardy. Members of the fire department also held a meeting at that time stating their displeasure with the commissioners, during which several firefighters threatened to walk off the job.

But even though there appears to be turmoil between the commissioners and fire department, both have maintained that fire protection for the city and county has never been in jeopardy.

The city and county also received good news in August, with regard to a recent Insurance Service Office inspection. They learned that the ISO rating had dropped from a 5/9 to a 4/4X meaning that most of the homeowners would see a decrease in price on the insurance policies covering their homes.

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