Washington County Fire Department Under Fire for Possible Misuse of Funds

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Chipley- The Washington County commission meeting took a tearful turn Thursday.

"I'm going to go ahead and resign from the [Washington County] fire department" Skyla Carter said between tears. "And it pains me to do so because that was something i really loved, but thank you."

Skyla Carter's resignation was only the beginning of the heat put on the Washington County Fire Department. For starters, allegations of misuse of county funds-

"We have 4,000 dollars in education equipment and a total of 10 of hours training. But again, the training doesn't go into detail. So, as far as ISO is concerned, they're not trained" said Washington County resident, Nan Thompson.

Also, frivolous spending on items such as , speakers, personalized helmets, computers, building materials and gifts of jackets and flashlights.

"Christmas of 2010, the tax payers paid $910 for personalized jackets. I don't have a problem with the jacket- they're nice heavy duty jackets. But once they were personalized and given as gifts, they're no longer department's.

That was one dilemma Carter was facing.

"Nobody else can use these" she said. "So I have resigned now, so what happens to the jacket? Is it my property? Or is it the fire departments property? That's a funny line."

Thompson also claimed the county fire department was using significantly more fuel than any other comparable department.

"As far as the fuel usage, I can explain that to you" Washington County Fire Chief, Alton Gothard rebutted . "I can explain a lot of things just because I have 31 years experience in fire service. Nan Thompson has zero."

"The items I'm concerned about are the items that were perceived to be given as gifts" Washington County Commission Chairman, Alan Bush said. "The flashlights for $587; the helmets for $325 dollars that have the titles on them- that are possibly being used as mantle pieces- there are concerns down there. But as commissioner Gothard said, those purchases were approved by wither the public safety officer for county manager. And with that being said, it may not be as much of a problem with the fire department as it is with the county administration."

Bush said the county inventory chairman would investigate the allegations next week.

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