Ousted S.C. Chief Sues Commissioners

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. --

A fire chief who was recently fired has filed a lawsuit against the commissioners who voted to dismiss him.

According to Ryan Langley, the attorney for former Holly Springs Chief Lee Jeffcoat, the lawsuit deals with the whistle-blower action.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday, claims Jeffcoat was retaliated against for speaking out publicly and exposing secret and illegal activity by the Fire Departments board of commissioners, according to Langley. That secret and illegal activity dealt with meetings being held without public notice, and an instance where Jeffcoat was forced to stop recording a public meeting, Langley said.

The lawsuit names four the Holly Springs Fire Department commissioners: Ryan Phillips, Kelly Waters, Clarence Gibbs and Roscoe Kyle. Hugh Jackson was left out because he had been trying to support the chief and speak out against the secret activity, according to Langley.

Langley said the former chief will not be taking any action on the commissions proposed severance package, which stated that if he accepted it, he could not take legal action against the commission.

Langley said if Jeffcoat wins the lawsuit, everyone wins, because then transparency and open government also win.

Jeffcoat was fired in July after the board of commissioners said they didnt have enough money in the budget to have a full-time fire chief. The board said theyre dealing with a $70,000 shortfall.

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