ADEM Director Fired

Montgomery, AL – The longtime director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management has been fired by the agency's governing board. Officials say the move will make room for new leadership. The state Environmental Management Commission oversees the department and voted Tuesday to end Jim Warr's tenure. Commissioner Riley Boykin Smith of Mobile says the commissioners' concerns varied, but he was personally bothered by ADEM's plans to relax standards for rebuilding homes close to the beach after they were severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan last month. Commissioner Patrick Byington brought Warr's firing up for vote. He said that aside from the coastal construction issue, he was also disappointed in the director's leadership and had expected him to secure more funding for the department. Commissioners John Lester and Williams Sanders, meanwhile, say they were shocked by the majority decision, and they say Warr was set up. Sanders is calling on the attorney general to investigate the vote.