A shouting match broke out in the lobby of City Hall on Monday night after City Council appointed Arthur Daggett Jr. as chief the city's fire police in a 5-2 vote.The shouting was started by three young men who were upset that their father, Bill Jenkins Sr., did not get the appointment.
Their complaint was that compared to Daggett, their father had been a member of the fire police for much longer.
But Fire Chief Kevin Johnson and most of the members of City Council maintained that because Daggett has more certifications, he is more qualified for the position.
"The guys said that Mr. Daggett didn't have the experience that their father did, but I was shown documentation to contrary," said Councilman Kurt Schenk. "Daggett has more certifications, regardless of years of experience. That's what I based vote on, regardless of talking to either man."
Council members Patsy Ray and Ed Simpson voted against Daggett's appointment. Simpson said he wanted to see more information before appointing Daggett.
"I'm concerned about how he was selected," Simpson said. "I wanted to make sure we were making the right choice. I know the other gentleman who was being considered. He's been involved in the fire police for as long as I can remember. Why he was not considered I don't know."
Fire Chief Kevin Johnson said only Daggett and Johnson applied for the position, which was advertised in the fire houses this summer. Daggett won out, Johnson said, due to higher qualifications.
Coatesville's city staff declined to provide the Daily Local News with the resumes of Daggett and Jenkins. But city spokeswoman Kristen Geiger said Daggett would not have been chosen if he didn't have the appropriate tenure with Coatesville's fire department.
Daggett did not respond to messages left both on his answering machine and with his mother.
Jenkins said that until Monday afternoon he was under the impression he would get the appointment. That changed at 5:30 p.m., when a council member stopped by his house to tell him he wouldn't be the next chief of the fire police.
"It's not right," Jenkins said. "They claim he has more certificates than I do. One of his certificates has something to do with helicopters, and that has nothing to do with what a fire police does."
Jenkins added that he's been a volunteer firefighter since 1964, when he joined the Brandywine Fire Company. But, he said, this recent incident has caused him to consider quitting.
"My boys said they would quit too if I quit," he said.