Smith County 911 Director Fired

Change for the Smith County 9-1-1 Communications District. Board members unanimously voted Monday to terminate district director Eddie Goldsmith.

Goldsmith's firing comes after months of criticism of the new center by officials throughout Smith County. They say mishandled calls, late pages, and, most recently, major problems with the center's proposed budget, meant a change was needed.

"Probably the biggest factor (for the termination) is the budget that was prepared, but that is just one factor," said Jerry Shamburger, District Vice Chairman.

"I think it was a general feeling that we just needed a new beginning and mend some fences," said Jim Carlyle, interim director.

The City of Tyler is not part of the district. They pulled out of an interlocal agreement in June of last year. Just last week, the City, once again, turned down an offer to consolidate with the new center. Tyler Mayor Joey Seeber said that decision was due in large part to a budget deficit last quarter of $295,000.

Board members say that problem, along with the others was too much. Lindale Fire Chief Richard Bellar represents other fire departments on the board He hopes today's decision is the solution.

"I have talked with several departments over the last couple of weeks and they're all standing behind the decision of 911."

Goldsmith had been the director of the center since it began operating late last year. Board member Jim Carlyle will serve as the interim director until a replacement can be hired. They hope to fill the position in the next four months. A spokesperson for the city said Monday's decision does not change the city's position on the issue.

Chris Gibson, reporting