Monday, August 17, 2015

Danvers Fire Chief Got Burned

"Danvers fire chief appeals firing" by Kathy McCabe and Sarah Roberts Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent  August 11, 2015

Kevin P. Farrell, who was fired on Monday as the Danvers fire chief for “conduct unbecoming” his position, has filed an appeal of his dismissal with the state Civil Service Commission.

The appeal was filed on Thursday, said Brendan Moss, a commission spokesman. The commission now has 30 days to schedule a hearing on the appeal, Moss said. But the hearing likely will be held behind closed doors as neither Farrell nor the town of Danvers, has submitted a written request for the commission to conduct it in public, Moss added.

“The documents related . . . to the hearing are not public,” Moss wrote in an e-mail to the Globe.

Farrell, 52, has not returned messages seeking comment. Danvers town officials also could not be reached for comment on Friday afternoon.

Farrell, a 27-year veteran of the department, was terminated for reasons “brought on by Mr. Farrell’s own conduct and a series of poor decisions on his part,” Town Manager Steve Bartha said in a statement.

Farrell, was placed on leave July 27 for undisclosed reasons. He did not immediately return a call seeking comment from the Globe.

His termination came a little more than three years after he was charged with domestic violence at his home in Groveland. The charges were later dropped.

The termination follows an incident in June, when Farrell made an improper records request of the Danvers Police Department that led to the suspension of a veteran officer. He asked Officer Suzanne Tibbetts to look up license plate information of a male who lived outside of town, according to Acting Danvers Police Chief Patrick M. Ambrose.

The man, who has not been identified, complained to police that his registration information had been improperly obtained, Ambrose said.

“We conducted an investigation, and determined that the plate had been run at the request of former fire chief Kevin Farrell,” Ambrose said Tuesday. “The information was improperly disseminated to him.”

Police may only use license registration information for department business, Ambrose said. Tibbetts was given a two-day suspension , he added.

“She’s a good police officer, who unwittingly has been dragged into this mess,” Ambrose said. “She had no malicious intent when she gave him the information.”

Tibbetts has filed an appeal of her suspension to the Civil Service Commission, her lawyer said. “She has an immaculate record,” said Richard Kendall, a North Reading lawyer. “She got a call, while on duty, from the fire chief, asking her to run a plate. . . . It’s not her job, as an officer of lesser rank, to question the chief.”

Stephen Delaney, town human resources officer, declined to comment on Tibbetts’s suspension or Farrell’s termination. He also would not say whether the firing was related to Farrell’s 2012 arrest on charges of assault and battery and witness intimidation in an incident involving his then-estranged wife.

Farrell, whose salary was $132,000, was dismissed after the town’s hearing Aug. 3.


UPDATEFire chief appeals his dismissal