Tuesday, 10 September 2019 17:07

Watson resigns as East Rockingham Fire Department chief

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Watson resigns as East Rockingham Fire Department chief Michael Broadwater - For the Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — The East Rockingham Fire Department will be under new leadership following the Monday night resignation of Mitchell Watson.

Darrell Allen, president of the ERFD board, confirmed Watson’s resignation Tuesday, but wouldn’t say anything else, other than that Deputy Chief Bill Bayless would serve as interim chief.

Bayless, also the mayor of Hamlet, is out of town at a conference.

Watson, who has been chief of the volunteer department since 2007, said the board “wanted to go in a different direction.”

He said the board presented a bulleted list of issues at Monday’s monthly meeting, none of which were reflected in his performance review in April.

Given the choice of being voted out or resigning, Watson said he chose the latter, adding that two board members opposed his resignation in support.

“Although we have some changes, there won’t be any changes to the services provided to the community,” Watson said, to ease concerns of those in those in the fire service district.

Watson said he will stay on as a firefighter, honoring the commitment he made to his community as a teenager.

He joined the department in 1984 as a junior fireman at the age of 14. His two sons, Brendan and Kendell, are also with the department.