Walterboro Public Safety Chief Otis Rhodes fired today

Former Walterboro Public Safety director Otis Rhodes is shown in this October 2011 file photo.

Wade Spees

WALTERBORO — Walterboro city officials say Public Safety Director Otis Rhodes was terminated today after nine years because it was time for a change.

Rhodes was fired at 11 a.m. by City Manager Jeff Lord. Contacted this afternoon, Lord said there were no further details about why Rhodes was let go. “There is no other reason,” Lord said.

Rhodes has not returned phone calls seeking comment.

“We are grateful to Otis for his contributions, but the time has come for someone else to continue the progress that has been made and to pave the way for even more in the future,” Lord wrote in a statement. “There’s work to be done, and I am confident the City and its citizens will be best served by new leadership in the Public Safety Department.”

Lord has the sole ability to hire and fire staff. He advised Mayor Bill Young and the council of his decision but Young declined to talk about it because it was Lord’s call and a personnel matter.

Rhodes was hired by the public safety department in December 1991, according to his record with the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy.

A statement released by town spokeswoman, Elizabeth Boineau, praised Rhodes for his work at the department including implementing the plan to combine the police and fire departements into one, bringing violent crime down to some of the lowest levels in twenty years and helping the department achieve an ISO 3 fire rating.

Major Ken Dasen, the assistant public safety director, will serve as acting director until an interim director is hired. Check back as more details become available.

Staff Writer Natalie Caula contributed to this report.