EMS director back; with new job overseeing fire departments

Published 10:28 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

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Brian Byrd is back – this time heading a new county department instead of EMS director, a job he held until he was placed on administrative leave after the county decided to leave its EMS station at the Advance Fire Department.

Interim Davie County Manager Mike Ruffin said his investigation found that Byrd did not commit any major infractions that would justify harsh consequences such as dismissal.

Ruffin employed a consultant, Tim Mayes, a former director of human resources at Charlotte to assist him. Mayes, along with Ruffin, spoke to more than 60 people about Byrd’s service as EMS Director.

“Like the rest of us, Brian is not perfect, and has made some errors in judgment while serving as director of EMS. However, he has implemented a number of excellent practices and is respected by many of his employees,” said Ruffin.

Ruffin has consulted with the commissioners and rendered what he labels as “one of the most difficult decisions of my life.”  “I have done very little else since the day I was hired and am comfortable with my decision. It came from careful study and prayer.”

Byrd will return to service on April 18 as Fire and Emergency Management Services Director.  Ruffin was careful in saying that Byrd made this decision. “If he wanted to return as EMS director, I would have permitted it, but I think his effectiveness would have been compromised.

“Brian is excited about improving emergency management as a county service as well as continuing to work with county fire departments while they seek to improve and finance fire services across the county. We need someone with his knowledge, skills and abilities. He will direct a new department, Fire and Emergency Management Services. Joseph Ashburn will continue to serve as interim EMS director while the county searches for a permanent replacement. Ruffin said he expects Ashburn and others to apply.  “All applicants will be vetted through a fair process to assess their skills and suitability for what is a very difficult job.”

Ruffin praised EMS employees.  “These fine people over the last several weeks have received criticism they did not deserve.  The truth is, we have one of the best EMS departments in the state. I am so proud of each one of them.”