MONROE, Ga. — The attorney for Monroe’s former fire chief said he never got any negative feedback from the city administrator about his performance.
David C. Will represents Bill Owens, who was fire chief from Jan. 1, 2019, until the City Council voted Sept. 1 to fire him.
“For the record, Bill did not ever engage in any conduct that violates the standards of conduct contained in the Employee Manual for City Employees,” Will wrote in response to questions from The Walton Tribune last week.
The Tribune published a story in its weekend edition after obtaining a copy of Owens’ personnel file. It included a list of complaints from Logan Propes, the city administrator, given to the City Council.
The council discussed Owens in a closed-door session then reconvened to vote 5-2 to dismiss the chief.
Owens had been a city employee for 20 years.
Will’s response was received after The Tribune’s deadline.
“Logan Propes was Bill’s supervisor and never discussed with him or told him that he was not following or ignoring his directions or those of the mayor,” Will wrote. “Bill has never been told or accused of poor financial oversight.”
A major part of Propes’ concerns was a personal relationship involving Owens. The relationship led to reports being filed with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and allegations of police Chief R.V. Watts mishandling evidence. Propes called that incorrect and said it threatened to damage credibility and an improved relationship between Monroe police and the Sheriff’s Office since Watts’ hiring last year.
One of the two council members who voted against Owens’ dismissal was Norman Garrett, who incidentally voted against promoting Owens and Watts in late 2018 after the retirement of Public Safety Director Keith Glass.
Garrett took to The Tribune’s Facebook page over the weekend to support the former fire chief.
“I don’t see not one complaint,” Garrett, a second-term councilman, wrote in a comment on the article about Owens’ dismissal.
“Someone is lying to the people of Monroe.”
Garrett said he didn’t think the council was presented anything that rose to the level of an offense that merits termination.
“Logan didn’t show any evidence; he was just saying what he thinks,” Garrett wrote.
Propes had asked for Owens’ resignation in May, citing conduct unbecoming an officer, but the chief answered with a letter from Will a day later.