Morgan named interim chief of Fire and Rescue

CONYERS -- Rockdale Fire and Rescue Capt. Dan Morgan has been named interim fire chief following the resignation of Chief Franklin Wilson II.

Rockdale Commission Chairman Richard Oden announced Morgan's appointment in a press release Friday afternoon, canceling a press conference that had been scheduled for Monday morning to name the interim chief.

Battalion Chief Joel Yoder has been named interim deputy fire chief, according to Oden's statement.

"These men are already proven leaders in the department who have successfully risen through its ranks," Oden said. "Please know I have every confidence in their abilities to serve well in these leadership roles during this period."

Oden also expressed disappointment at Wilson's resignation, saying that Wilson had "told me he wants to make a personal change in direction."

"In the time he was with the county, Chief Wilson made an impact with the goals he set out to achieve, as well as his long-term vision for Fire and Rescue," Oden added. "He proved himself to be a driven, energetic leader who made the safety and livability of Rockdale County his utmost priority."

Oden said he has begun discussions with the county's Human Resources Department on the necessary steps to find a successor for Wilson.

In a statement issued by Morgan Friday afternoon, he said he and Yoder will be able to work well together, as they did when their interim roles were reversed during the search for Wilson.

"We will continue to move forward in a positive direction," Morgan said. "We are not going to let anything fall off the table. Our folks will trust us to do that."

Morgan also said he is humbled to be chosen to lead the department he has grown up in through a time of transition.

"I have continued to pursue secondary education since I have been here specifically for the fire department to grow professionally in this chosen field," Morgan said. "This is my passion. This is what I want to do until I retire, whether it is riding on a truck or leading the front office."

Morgan also cited the dedication of employees who grew up in Rockdale County and have 10, 20 or 30 years with the department. "So I will be true to the level of dedication and professionalism they have come to expect, and be someone they know and trust," he said.

Wilson's resignation, which is effective July 6, has the county looking for a fire chief for the third time in four years. Wilson has been on the job for less than one year.

Wilson was hired in July 2011 after a nationwide search. He succeeded former Chief Cedric Scott, who was hired in 2009 and who resigned in 2011 to take the position of assistant fire chief in Savannah. Prior to Scott, Walter Ellison served as chief until his retirement.

Wilson came to Rockdale County from Twin Falls, Idaho, where he was deputy fire chief for the Jerome City Fire Department in Jerome, Idaho.