Merkison filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shortly after Fire Marshal Dwayne Jackson was named interim chief. Merkison alleged he was not selected because he is white. Jackson is black.
Merkison, who started his career in 1996 and rose to assistant fire chief, was one of three finalists interviewed pubicly Tuesday night at the county commission meeting. The other finalists were East Point Fire Chief Rosemary Cloud and Riverdale Fire Chief Brenda “Nish” Willis. Both women had more than 30 years of fire services each and college degrees. Merkison has received many awards and commendations during his years with the department. He is currently working on a bachelor’s degree in fire administration from Orange Beach, Ala.-based Columbia Southern University.