Meridian Fire Chief Bunky Partridge has been scrutinized for possible ethics violations. The decision by the attorney general was actually no decision, in favor of Partridge.
Attorney General Mike Moore's office said Monday that there was no criminal wrongdoing in Partridge accepting a salary for setting up the Three I Training Facility.
The fire chief will not be required to pay back any funds to the city of Meridian and no charges will be filed against him.
"What it says in it that there was no criminal action whatsoever which we felt was truthful all along," said Partridge. "I never felt like I did anything wrong from day one. My family's been through a lot in the past 12 to 14 months with this and I have been awful quiet for the past 14 months knowing I did nothing wrong. I'm glad to be exonerated today from the Ethics Commission and the attorney general."
Partridge has agreed to not to take further payment from Three I for his future work.
"That was my own choosing so I wouldn't make it look like I was accepting something and doing for wrongdoing," said the fire chief. "I decided not to take a salary."
The Three I Training Facility, established in Meridian, has received over $1 million in federal grants. Its original concept was to train workers in case of a railroad disaster. That concept has now been widened considerably.
"It's important now, but it's going to be more and more important when you start training law enforcement officials," Partridge said. "We can start training corrections officers. We're doing a lot of training will be brought here to Meridian."
Partridge said he believes the training facility will play a valuable role for the entire Southeastern region of the country.