NEW INFO: Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS Chief Speaks Out

Washington's fire chief, who nearly two weeks ago was placed on administrative leave, says there is no justification for his removal.

In a statement released to WITN News Monday, Jimmy Davis says he is willing to discuss with city manager James Smith any matters that need to be addressed.

Smith placed the fire chief on leave, but has yet to publicly give any reasons. He did tell WITN that there were no criminal investigations ongoing involving Davis.

Davis says he sees no reason why he should not be allowed to return to work and says he just wants to be treated fairly.

"Any person in a position of leadership will not please everyone, especially when the leader is responsible for supervising other employees. However, there is no justification, documented or otherwise, rising to a level that might justify the city manager questioning my leadership or ability to serve as Chief of Fire/Rescue/EMS or in the capacity as head of Inspections and the city's Emergency Management Coordinator. My performance appraisals fly in the face of this action," Davis said in his statement.

WITN tried to contact Washington City Manager Jim Smith. We were notified he is on vacation this week. WITN is working to contact him.

Jimmy Davis Statement

James C. Smith, city manager for the City of Washington, announced last week that he placed James L. Davis, Fire/Rescue/EMS Chief for the City of Washington, on administrative leave with pay effective on June 16, 2009.

When asked why this action was taken, Chief Davis said, "Any person in a position of leadership will not please everyone, especially when the leader is responsible for supervising other employees. However, there is no justification, documented or otherwise, rising to a level that might justify the city manager questioning my leadership or ability to serve as Chief of Fire/Rescue/EMS or in the capacity as head of Inspections and the city's Emergency Management Coordinator. My performance appraisals fly in the face of this action."

Chief Davis said, "I have been advised by my attorneys not to respond at this point to the specific allegations made by the city manager. But, I know there is a lot of speculation out there. I hear it, too, and that is one of the reasons I'm trying to set the record straight. Based on my past performance evaluations, I am concerned that this action may have been based on matters that have nothing to do with the performance of my duties with the city. "

According to Davis, he has been appraised by the City of Washington as an employee with a performance rating of no less than a high performer demonstrating skills to perform his assigned jobs at a commendable level. Chief Davis has been commended by the City for his thorough understanding of fire fighting, fire prevention and related disciplines; monitoring spending closely and operating within budgetary guidelines; distinguishing himself as a decisive, forceful leader; possessing excellent knowledge of and application of emergency response procedures; making the first modern day appointment of a minority to a leadership position; successfully managing the construction of Station II on time and within budget; obtaining a grant to mitigate the expenses of additional staffing; handling problems and disputes fairly; reshaping the Inspections Division; facilitating improvements in organizational procedures; and developing skills and talents of employees under his supervision. According to Davis, during the most recent appraisal completed by the city manager, the city manager identified Davis as an employee the city manager could count on to get things done. The manager wrote that Chief Davis is a strong, largely successful manager who demands and expects high performance. Davis also points out that, under his leadership, the City of Washington has received its best fire protection rating in history.

The city manager announced last week during his comments to the Washington Daily News that there is no criminal investigation in this case. Davis confirms that he, too, is not aware of any criminal investigation in this matter. Since the completion of the most recent performance appraisal completed by the city manager, Davis is aware of no formal grievances alleging misconduct by him. Davis says there has never been any formal grievance alleging misconduct against him in his 25 years of service with the city. Davis said that he has had good working relationships with previous councils and managers.

Chief Davis is approximately 5 ½ years short of retiring with 30 years of service to the City of Washington. He began his employment with the City of Washington Fire Department on July 1, 1984. For the past 25 years, he has served the city and citizens of Washington without interruption and worked his way up through the ranks of the fire department until his appointment as Chief of Fire/Rescue/EMS in 2004. Chief Davis also serves as head of the Inspections Department and as the city's Emergency Management Coordinator. Chief Davis is a native of Washington, North Carolina and graduated from Washington High School before earning an Associates Degree in Fire Protection Technology. He is a Certified Fire Officer III with the State of North Carolina and serves on numerous Boards of Directors including the Eastern Carolina Critical Incident Stress Management Association, Eastern Carolina Firefighter's Association and Fire Protection Technology Programs for Wilson Technical Community College, Fayetteville Technical Community College and Fayetteville State University.

When asked about what he expects from the city in the coming days, Chief Davis said that the past week or so has been very difficult on his family. According to Davis, since the city manager released the information to the media about his leave with pay, he has heard from the small, but loud and angry group of individuals attacking Davis and his family - even attacking his children. "For the most part, these people have relied on the anonymity and speed of websites and message boards to do their damage," said Davis. He said that, in his opinion, those particular individuals have no regard for the facts. "But, I am mindful of their comments. More importantly, I thank those people in the community who have supported my family, especially my wife and children. My sisters, brother and mother have been hurt by this, too. I want the people to know that their support has sustained me and my family during this time of what we believe is undeserved and unnecessary humiliation."

Chief Davis indicated a willingness to discuss with the city manager any matters that need to be addressed. Davis says there is no reason not to allow him to return to work. His desire is for both he and the city to continue enjoying an employment relationship that has lasted almost three decades. "I just want to be treated fairly," said Davis.

Previous Story

WITN News has confirmed Jimmy Davis, the chief of the Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS, is on administrative leave with pay.

Davis also heads up the inspections department and is the city's emergency management coordinator.

The Washington city manager said it is a personnel issue, and those issues are confidential.

WITN has confirmed Robbie Rose will be acting chief.

According to the City of Washington’s website, Davis was a division chief when he was promoted to chief in 2004 and has been with the department since 1984.

Davis is also the president of the Cal Ripken baseball league, which is not run by the city.

Below is information about Davis and the job as chief as listed on the City of Washington's website.


Jimmy Davis has been Chief of the Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS Department since May of 2004. He was hired in July of 1984 and rose through the ranks to Division Chief leading every Division within the Department before being promoted to Chief.

Since becoming the Chief, he has been assigned the duties of managing the Building Inspections Department and serving as the Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Washington.

Chief Davis holds an Associate in Applied Science in Fire Protection Technology from Wilson Technical Community College and is a Certified Fire Officer III from the State of North Carolina along with numerous other certifications.

Chief Davis serves on the Board of Directors for the Eastern Carolina Critical Incident Stress Management Association, Eastern Carolina Firefighter’s Association, and the Fire Protection Technology programs for Wilson Technical Community College, Fayetteville Technical Community College and Fayetteville State University.

Chief Davis is a Washington native. He graduated from Washington High School in 1981.

The Chief is responsible for managerial, administrative and supervisory work in directing the overall activities and personnel of the City’s Department of Fire-Rescue-EMS-Inspection Services.

His work involves planning, organizing, and directing the Department and its programs so as to prevent and minimize the loss of life and property. This includes supervision of personnel responsible for firefighting, rescue, emergency medical care, fire and building inspections, training, and maintaining apparatus, equipment and facilities. The Chief of Department reports directly to the City Manager.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Suit man Location: Washington on Feb 3, 2010 at 12:14 PM
    I myself had a similiar situation with Davis.He attempted to pull that same stunt,and it did not go very far. Robbie is a good man, and my experience dealing with him was great. Very professional indeed. I agree, I am sure the employees at the fire dept. are relieved knowing he is TERMINATED.
  • by Only a matter of time Location: Washington on Feb 2, 2010 at 12:06 PM
    Scott.. As you say, you do not know of him or his ignorance, so your opinion means nothing. I own a family business downtown, and he was without a doubt the most arrogant person I dealt with.Yes,I had a few fire code violations, however he was very rude, and even made reference to closing my business down until repairs were made. I went over his head, and needless to say my business never lost a days work. Thank god Mr. Rose was given the job as the fire marshal. My experiences with him were much more pleasurable. We have a fine bunch of men and women serving our city, and I can only imagine the relief they now have knowing he is gone.
  • by Scott M on Jan 19, 2010 at 01:07 PM
    A man is placed on administrative leave without reasonable cqause as to why, this in itself is odd, yet all these people are balsting him for attitude reasons and not liking him, that I find obnoxious of the people. Seperate the job from the person, if you do not like the person, do not associate with them, whether it is some little league thing or otherwise. i have worked for plenty of people who were not the most pleasant, and just looked forward to the end of the work day, to spend my own time elsewhere, if you did not like him as a coach, get a new coach. If he was a poor chief/fireman then I would understand removing him from the position, but if this entire fiascal is over attitude, then it would appear some people need to grow up and demonstrate leadership roles given them. I do not know of him or the rea or situation, but the comments alone are so crass one could only wonder how many people there have hid behind curtains playing wizard while never showing true colors.
  • by TO ALL YOU HIDING BEHIND PTB! Location: Beaufort County on Dec 11, 2009 at 02:41 PM
    PTB...umm Protect The Brother! Yes your a Fireman that doesn't have a clue what it is to be a brother. All I can say is the FIREMEN need to look to the left and to the right of them, Is this person mad at you? Hope they wont let their personality likes or dislikes keep them from pulling you out of a burning building if need be. Also sounds like you were "one" of the folks that was allowing their personal activities to cause harm at work. As far as baseball and football, if your not happy with the leadership of either program.....don't sign your kid up! Both programs have excelled,grown and improved with the many unpaid volunteer hours of its leaders and its many parent volunteers. So, if you want to continue to be so unhappy with your life.....take it somewhere else. Life goes on!!!!
  • by PTB Location: Washington on Nov 11, 2009 at 02:06 AM
    See what happens when you cross people Jimmy. Treat your employees better, and you would still be on your throne. Lets just hope he will have nothing to do with baseball,or WYFL next year.He does not deserve this. Same goes for you Walt, as you two are alot alike. Sorry man, but you should learn to worry about your own problems, and not worry about what off duty employees do!!!
  • by Waiting Location: Washington on Jul 15, 2009 at 08:30 AM
    When will we hear something about what is going on?? It's been way too long and I don't think it's fair to keep the taxpayers waiting to hear the verdict on this. How much longer are we going to have to pay this man's salary while he's kicked back with his feet up?????
  • by what the... Location: washington on Jul 15, 2009 at 06:56 AM
    Out cutting grass for a lawn contractor while being paid 100% by the city. What a joke. Do something, anything!
  • by To Me Location: Washington on Jul 14, 2009 at 04:46 PM
    I agree with you on the 100%.
  • by Me Location: Washington on Jul 14, 2009 at 03:48 PM
    Morale is great,Morale is great,Morale is great!!!! BTW, not 50%, but 100% are waiting. Did I say morale is great? Yep, I did.
  • by To Larry Location: Washington on Jul 13, 2009 at 06:03 PM
    Time heals all wounds, as we adults know. The government is not wounded just here in Washington, but also in our entire country. Clean sweep this man, Mr. Smith. I don't know that you should "clean sweep" the entire city of Washington government, but CLEAN SWEEP this man. There are too many broken souls in this town because of Jimmy Davis. Greater than 50% of our town's people are waiting to read the news on the front page of the Washington Daily News........bring it on!!!!

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