Fire marshal resignation is latest blow to scandal-weary Savannah

Ever get the feeling that all our public institutions are unraveling? No? Maybe you should move to Savannah.

Late last week, we got word that Savannah Fire Marshal Craig Landolt, who was honored as fire inspector of the year by the Georgia Fire Inspectors Association, had abruptly left his post. From the Savannah Morning News:

Landolt provided no explanation for his sudden departure in the one-line letter, but he said in a performance review in February that he was working in “adverse and hostile” working conditions and his office failed to get adequate support.

“The level of inadequate support received by me and this office compared to the bureau’s budget and the importance of what we do is abominable and embarrassing,” Landolt said in the review. […]

Savannah Fire & Emergency Services Chief Charles Middleton declined to comment, citing Landolt’s retirement and any surrounding issues as personnel matters, according to a department spokesman.

Landolt was among a group of 10 senior fire department staffers who had made claims of a hostile work environment in a group email to City Manager Stephanie Cutter last November. In the letter, staffers called for an independent investigation into the misconduct and mistreatment of employees and illegal hiring practices after mediation failed to resolve the issues.

This news comes on top of a huge mess at Recorder’s Court, which led to the effective demotion of Judge Tammy Stokes by Superior Court judges followed by her reinstatement by the Georgia Supreme Court, and recent revelations about a pattern of problems in payroll, accounting, and human resources procedures at Live Oak Public Libraries.

Our former police chief and former transit system director are both serving federal sentences, although alderman Tony Thomas was not indicted after years of sordid accusations. The GBI is currently investigating the death of an inmate at the Chatham County jail — that’s especially worrisome after the gruesome death of a mentally ill man at the jail in 2015.

Meanwhile, city of Savannah officials have chosen to waste a lot of political capital with an ill-advised and dangerous “experiment” to remove parking spaces on Bay Street.

By comparison, the Chatham Emergency Management Agency’s fumbling of communications during Tropical Storm Hermine looks pretty darn good.


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