PEMBROKE — McDuffie Cummings Jr. has resigned as the fire chief of Pembroke after eight years holding the position.
Cummings did so a couple of months after the Town Council eliminated his pay, but he said his decision was not related to the loss of income.
According to interim Town Manager Marie Moore, Cummings submitted his resignation last week. Although The Robesonian has been told by more than one unnamed source that Assistant Fire Chief Earl Demery had also resigned, Moore said that has not happened. Attempts to reach Demery were unsuccessful.
“I’ve been with the Fire Department now for 27 years … ,” Cummings, who is chief of police at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, told The Robesonian. “It was just taking a lot of time. … The police job is a little bit more demanding, so I had to more or less let one of them go.”
Cummings said he will remain a member of the Fire Department and respond to calls.
His resignation comes two months after the Town Council voted to stop paying the chief and assistant chief. According to Moore, the chief had been paid $9,800 a year and the assistant chief $4,200 a year since 2007.
Cummings said his resignation had nothing to do with the loss of pay.
“None whatsoever,” he said. “I enjoyed the Fire Department, but it was just a little bit too demanding with the two jobs. … What I was being paid was more or less to pay for my fuel, conducting meetings, making sure guys went to class, and just keeping the department in operation.”
Cummings said that the fire chief is elected from within the Fire Department.
According to McDuffie Cummings Sr., former town manager, the Fire Department formerly had a full-time position for fire chief but eliminated it and decided to provide part-time pay to the chief and assistant chief to keep up with records, equipment and general operations of the department.
Cummings Sr. is the father of Cummings Jr.