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Fire chief dismissed; manager resigns

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Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013 9:09 pm

NEWPORT — Two of the town's employees are moving on, the News-Times has learned.

The town's fire chief Drummond Figg was fired Friday morning, effective immediately.

Shortly afterward, town manager Dick Casey submitted his resignation letter to the town council. Mr. Casey said his decision to retire was in no way linked to the fire chief's dismissal.

According to Mr. Casey the decision to relieve the fire chief of his duties came following an investigation initiated by the town council.

"Chief Figg has been terminated, effective immediately," the manager said in a statement. "I took action as the result of an investigation by a committee formed by the town council to look into the operations of the fire department," he said. "Their findings led me to conclude that members of the department had lost confidence in Fire Chief Figg and his ability to manage the fire department."

The manager said he concluded, based on the committees findings, that the fire chief lacked the leadership skills necessary to address the issues.

"I know the department as a whole works hard and has continued to perform in an outstanding fashion," he added.

Chief Figg had been with the department four years, hired March 30, 2009. His salary at the time of his dismissal was $53,036. The chief was not available for comment.

As far as his resignation, effective July 1, Mr. Casey simply said it was time.

"It is clear to me that it's time for a new perspective and leadership for the staff," he said.

Mr. Casey said he chose a retirement day of July 1 for two reasons. "I would like to see the town through the budget process and see the bid awarded for the sewer plant expansion project."

Fiscal 2012-13 ends June 30, and the town must have the new budget adopted prior to the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

He said leaving was bittersweet as he had the utmost appreciation for town employees.

"I consider Mayor Garner to be a true gentleman, respected leader and friend," he added. Mr .Casey said he saw no need to go into details about his decision, but it had not been a hasty one and had been made after much thought. Mr. Casey was hired as town manager on April 2, 2007. At present, his salary is $86,695.

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