Burlington fire chief leaving for Chapel Hill

After almost three years in the post, Burlington fire chief Jay Mebane will be leaving the city to take a comparable post as the head of Chapel Hill’s municipal fire department.

Mebane’s elevation to chief in August 2020 by then-city manager Hardin Watkins triggered a discrimination lawsuit against the city from deputy fire chief Matt Lawrence, who contended he was skipped over for the selection. Mebane, a former firefighter, was then serving as the city’s inspections director.

Mebane is black; Lawrence is white.

Burlington ultimately paid Lawrence a $90,000 settlement to drop his litigation against the city.

COMINGS AND GOINGS: Burlington’s city council took a few moments this week to recognize two veteran staff members who are about to make some big moves in their respective careers.
Jay Mebane (left) will be heading to Chapel Hill to become chief of that municipality’s fire department. Assistant police chief Alan Balog (right) has been tapped to succeed Burlington’s outgoing police chief Brian Long when he retires later this month.

See earlier coverage of the city’s settlement with Lawrence: https://alamancenews.com/deputy-fire-chief-gets-90k-settlement-from-city-after-he-was-skipped-over-for-top-job/