Fire Chief Garrett On Paid Leave in Winchester
November 25, 2019
WINCHESTER – William Garrett, the Chief of the Winchester Fire and Rescue Department, was put on paid leave late last week.
According to City Manager Eden Freeman, Garrett was away from the office due to a personal matter. Assistant Fire Chief Eddie McClellan will take over the role of Interim Fire Chief in Garrett’s stead.
No detailed reason has been given for Garrett’s sudden absence. He was hired by the Winchester Fire and Rescue Department back in June. A five-month search led the Department to Garrett, who is a 30 year veteran of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. He replaced Allen Baldwin, who had left the area to take an assistant fire chief job with Stafford County Fire and Rescue.
Garrett recently spoke in favor of his department at a Winchester City Council meeting on Nov. 12. He explained that the Council and he himself needed more information from firefighters with regards to the potential impact of a new vacation and sick leave policy from the city. The policy is a part of a new paid time off program, and would only allow firefighters to have the same amount of vacation and sick days as other city staff, despite working more hours by a large margin.
The next Winchester City Council meeting is tomorrow evening. Several locals have claimed they will speak out on Garrett’s behalf during the public section of the meeting.
Correction: A previous headline of this story said William Garrett was “ousted.” Garrett was placed on paid leave until the Nov. 26 City Council meeting.
Update: The City of Winchester released an official statement claiming that William Garrett was on a planned vacation and is back in his office as of Nov. 27.
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