Currently The Leader's managing editor, Echo Day is an 11-year veteran of the paper.

At a special called meeting Thursday night Covington's board of mayor and aldermen voted to extend the period of suspension for fire chief Michael Naifeh. 

Indicted earlier this month for theft and official misconduct, Naifeh has been suspended with pay since March 5. 

A state comptroller's investigation reported he made four purchases using his city-issued credit card in February 2018. Naifeh paid the money back to the city, however the mayor is legally-obligated to report the incident to the state.

The city's charter allows the mayor to suspend the fire chief for up to 30 days. Terminations can only be done through the board of mayor and aldermen. 

Alderwoman Minnie Bommer has been outspoken in her disagreement with the mayor's actions and in the manner through which she and other aldermen found out about the indictment. They were not aware Naifeh was under investigation. 

The board was tied in its vote to suspend the fire chief for 30 more days, again with pay, with aldermen Danny Wallace, Johnetta Yarbrough and Jeff Morris voting against it. Aldermen Keith Phelps, Bommer and C.H. Sullivan voted in favor of the motion. 

Covington mayor Justin Hanson broke the tie with vote in favor of another suspension. 

The additional period of suspension will begin April 4. 

A subsequent meeting for review has not yet been set. 

"We will call a meeting when and if something further develops," said Hanson. 

Naifeh has been Covington's fire chief since May 2015 and also serves as District 2's county commissioner. He is being represented by Barney Witherington.

Echo Day is The Leader's managing editor. To contact her, call 901-476-7116 or email eday@covingtonleader.com.

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