CD 12 candidate Carl Smith fired from day job; says “It’s all political.”

Thunderbolt Fire Chief and 12th CD candidate Carl Smith (website | Facebook) lost his job Wednesday night by a 4-3 vote of the town council.

The Council was questioning the amount of accured leave he had and how much time he was taking to campaign. One Council member did note that Smith’s performance had been “above board and superb.” Now, though, there just isn’t enough money to keep paying him $52,000 a year.

Smith’s response? Recall the entire City Council!

Reached late Wednesday, Smith said no one had contacted him.

“It’s all political,” he said. “The citizens just need to do a recall. This new council is out of control and they are going to destroy our town.

“They don’t care about the citizens at all.”

Maybe Smith will also call for the purging of those people who don’t vote for him in the upcoming primary, as well.


  1. silvercat says:

    I just read the Savannahnow story, and the mayor (who voted against Carl’s firing) either stupid or not a very good supporter. The council gave Carl an out, saying it’s only cuz they can’t afford him anymore, but then the mayor gave the real reason concerning accrued leave. She should have just kept her mouth shut. Now there are all sorts of questions that arise about whether Carl was campaigning on city time, etc., etc. Not good for someone who claims to be for less government spending…

  2. GOPwits says:

    If you’re the citizens of Thunderbolt and you’re paying a guy $52K to do a job and he’s instead taking leave to do something else then you’re essentially paying him to run for Congress – wouldn’t you draw the same conclusion? I mean, if he’s not there to do the job then maybe you don’t need a full time fire chief? Or perhaps you can outsource the service to another service or county and save the taxpayers money?

    Seems pretty logical to me.

    Tough break for the guy, but it’s not politics, it’s about saving taxpayers money.

    • drjay says:

      why is taking leave to run for congress different than taking leave to go to disney world, or have your appendix out, or whatever???

      t-bolt just got an improved fire rating too–i onder how going back to a volunteer dept. will affect that.

      i don’t want to speak out of turn, but it is not too difficult to read between the lines if you know a little about the players and figure out that carl got shafted on this one…

  3. Mama Bear says:

    Mama Bear smells a rat. Pinky Pants cries to the party that he’s not getting enough attention from party leaders and the next thing you know, the leading GOP candidate gets whacked from his job in the cloak of darkness, having to find out from a news reporter- never even being told from his employer.

    Humpf. Sounds like the GA12 trial lawyer might be facing some trial lawyers before this is over. Tsk Tsk

    • islandlife says:

      I guess you’re just trying to do your job as his campaign manager but the conspiracy theories make you and Carl look all sortsa crazy! Nothing like playing into the media narrative of nutty right wingers. Cloak of darkness… sheesh.

      Anyhow, it looks like Thunderbolt figured why pay for an absentee fire chief if you really don’t need one. A department like that one seems redundant and you might as well contract with nearby departments.

      If I lived in the 12th I wouldn’t vote for him anyway… a quick google search shows he got canned from Savannah FD for “leaving work without authorization and was also accused of insubordination and conduct unbecoming a fire department employee.” (

      Sounds like he has a lot more problems than a vast left wing conspiracy reaching down from Capitol Hill through back channels to the tiny Thunderbolt Town Council.

  4. Game Fan says:

    Seems like quite the coordinated effort from the Town Council. IMHO when you’re talking coastal politics especially, it pays to find out who’s lived there the longest vs. who’s on the “in crowd” wrt real estate.

    Who’s got the glossy brochures from the snazzy Developer, from, say Orlando perhaps? And who’s running roughshod over the “traditional governmental institutions” with the fancy proposed outsourcing schemes?

  5. Sarah Scott says:

    Accrued leave is just that, leave that you as an employee have earned during your employment. Just as an above comment stated, it should not matter if you are at Disneyland, Tybee Island or in Augusta during that leave.
    This is the same City Council that has fired the City Administrator and the Finance Director. This is the same City Council that listened to political opponents and made a claim that the Hatch Act was being violated.
    Also, I find it strange that they are concerned with a $52,000 salary expenditure now, during the primary election cycle. I certainly hope that the town council will be willing to explain to the homeowners of Thunderbolt that the doubling or tripling of the home insurance premiums is worth the savings to the town.

    • islandlife says:

      Well I’m glad that at least Carl has his (former) Thunderbolt firefighters manning the station to distribute his campaign materials in his absence while taking all that accrued leave that has piled up after two years as chief (which I’m sure is plenty to cover 14 months of campaigning for Congress—how much leave is that, anyway??) . Any politically or economically savvy person knows a $52,000 salary actually costs an employer closer to $60-75k/year when you consider benefits and paid time off (hmm..) which ends up costing the taxpayers quite a bit for a part-time fire chief. Homeowners won’t be seeing big insurance premium hikes thanks to the elimination of an unneeded government employee.

    • islandlife says:

      Wait–I forgot to ask… Thunderbolt’s citizens are going to face doubled or tripled premiums because their part-time fire chief was canned? They still have a firehouse. And there’s still a Savannah firehouse 1.67 miles down the street from the Thunderbolt firehouse.

      The GOP is supposed to be for fiscal conservatism. Maybe Carl qualified on the wrong party’s ballot?

    • Game Fan says:

      Actually I was referring to the idea that (and this is 100% speculation from the nose bleed section) maybe just MAYBE the four town council members might have some type of real estate agenda with a big developer. As far as “Orlando” goes…

      “A behind-the-scenes deal that called for taxpayers to pony up $36 million to jump-start a Florida developer’s plan to remake the GM plant in Doraville appears dead before it even became public”.

  6. GOPwits says:

    Well if he has so much leave, like most government employees, he can cash it in and get a payout on it…

    Regardless, Chiefs serve at the pleasure of the Council and it goes with the territory…

    It’s a tough break for the guy.

  7. southgapassion says:

    Yeah, I’d pretty much call a vote at 10:30 on a Wednesday night, the cloak of darkness, would you not?

    Island life, the article you quote goes back to when the firefighter worked for the City of Savannah, and yes, walked off the fire dept. property after a 24 hour shift, when no replacement showed up to relieve him and the city manager of Savannah refused to deal with the situation, which at that time was a regular occurrence.

    • islandlife says:

      Since it was such a regular occurrence I’m curious how many other firefighters were able to stuff their HR files full of insubordination, conduct unbecoming and leaving work without authorization charges (oh yeah, they canned Carl for doing it once. riiight.) and got fired… twice, right?

      Isn’t this the year we’re supposed to be throwing the shady bums out, not putting more of them in?! Scary to see he has such ardent and passionate supporters as yourself, Ms. Passion. Maybe the GOP is doomed afterall.

  8. GG says:

    Carl Smith is the victim of small town politics. Apparently, he gave 110% to Thunderbolt or he wouldn’t have had so much accrued leave time. Instead of petty jealousy you would think that the city of Thunderbolt would be proud that one of their own has stepped up to the plate to run for the 12th Congressional District and support him. If there wasn’t a political agenda here why not wait until after the primary after all he has been with them years and has received good evaluations. One or two more months wouldn’t have made that much difference.

    • silvercat says:

      What I infer from the Mayor’s comment is that some council members were concerned he was taking more leave than he had actually accrued. I would be very surprised if he goes through with his threat to appeal the decision.

  9. Mama Bear says:

    how much money does a census worker make when sitting at home blogging on peach pundit?

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