By DEUCE NIVEN
Deeply divided, leaders of Nakina Fire & Rescue have been unable to come together since members ousted long-term directors during a contentious February meeting.
Columbus County Commissioners and appointed leaders have been quietly trying to mediate the dispute that has seen newly elected directors frustrated by the old board’s refusal to leave, and old board members challenging the legitimacy of the Feb. 18 vote.
Both sides have hired out-of-town lawyers, and efforts by the new board to take control of the department’s Post Office Box got so messy that the U.S. Postal Service is now refusing to deliver mail – including bills and revenue from county government and other sources – members said during an after-meeting meeting with Columbus County Commissioners Monday.
New board members offered some compromise to old board leaders during Monday’s hour-long meeting, but the old guard refused those. Commissioners chairman Charles McDowell, whose district includes Nakina, said the future of the department is threatened by the ongoing dispute.
“It’s just a matter of you work it out or shut it down,” McDowell said.
Shuttering the department would have expensive consequences for property owners in the department’s fire district.
For much more on this story see the June 19 Tabor-Loris Tribune print edition.