January 21, 2011

AG looking into Fire Chief complaints

UNDER FIRE: Londonderry Fire Chief Kevin MacCaffrie, left, with Fire Capt. Jim Roger, center and Colleen Monks,  at a temporary shelter at the high School during the  March  2010 ice storm. MacCaffrie received a "no confidence" vote by the firefighters union, prompting the Attorney General's office to look into allegations against MacCaffrie.
Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- The Londonderry Professional Firefighters union’s recently publicized vote of “no confidence” against fire Chief Kevin MacCaffrie hasn’t gone unnoticed by those in the state Attorney General’s Office.
Yesterday afternoon, Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young, head of the state’s
 criminal bureau, confirmed that the matter had recently been brought to their attention, though she stressed it was still too early to determine whether a full investigation would be necessary. 

“We get a number of complaints on a daily basis,” Young said on Thursday. “Someone has made use aware of a matter or matters, so we will definitely look into this to see if further investigation is warranted.” 
Young didn’t specify the nature of the complaints. 
“Sometimes there may be troubles, but it doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of a crime,” she emphasized. “That’s where this matter falls at the moment.” 
Earlier this month and after union organizers determined all efforts to work with the town towards mediating a solution had failed, members of the local firefighters union made public the vote of no confidence taken against MacCaffrie in September. 
The union, which is made up of approximately 40 Londonderry firefighters, conducted a vote of “no confidence” against MacCaffrie on Sept. 8. 
Last week, Union President Anthony Maccarone said the vote “was a necessary step to bring to light fundamental issues affecting the safety of the public and the firefighters that protect the community.” 
With a 12-page report released detailing the union’s grievances against MacCaffrie, the chief has been accused of mismanaging the department, especially regarding his alleged “inability to present department and budget issues…. which directly affect the level of service.” 
MacCaffrie declined to comment on the accusations last week, referring all inquiries to Town Manager David Caron. 
Following last fall’s vote, union officials contacted Caron in addition to members of the Town Council. 
A town-sponsored mediation took place throughout December, when Caron and a professional mediator attempted, unsuccessfully, to meet some sort of resolution with the firefighters’ union. 
Caron said the union’s demands during mediation sessions weren’t reasonable, since in order to meet them he’d essentially have to dismiss Mac-Caffrie and interview an acting fire captain for the chief position. 
Meanwhile, Maccarone implored the Town Council to intervene following last month’s unsuccessful mediation meetings, only to learn he’d be required to continue working with the town manager, since the Town Council isn’t permitted to intervene under the town’s charter. 

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