Freedom — March 3, 2012 — Town officials are releasing no details but have confirmed that Freedom Fire Chief Gene Doe has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending further investigation. The department’s deputy chief, Justin “Cubby” Brooks, has assumed the role of Acting Fire Chief.
Freedom Selectman Chairman Les Babb declined to go into any further detail when reached via telephone on Tuesday except to confirm the full-time chief has been placed on leave and that the matter that led to the selectmen’s decision is being investigated by the town’s attorney and an outside police agency.
The announcement comes on the heels of a very successful opening of the town’s new public safety building which houses the fire and police departments and with Town Meeting just two weeks away. Selectmen plan to ask voters for a new tanker truck for the fire department when they vote March 13. Selectmen have given kudos to Doe for his extensive research into finding the most cost-effective new fire truck to serve the needs of the department. During the public safety building open house, public hearings regarding the new fire truck purchase, and the town’s budget hearing, there was no obvious indication of any rift between Doe and the Board.
When Babb was asked if the reason for Doe being placed on leave was due to an incident that occurred while he was on duty as the chief or a result of something that happened while he was off-duty, Babb said he could not comment.
The town first established the position of full-time paid fire chief with accompanying health insurance and other benefits in 2008. Doe has held the position since June 2008.
As a Freedom taxpayer I cannot understand why the town of Freedom refuses to be open and honest about why Freedom Fire Chief Gene Doe has been put on leave. Government at all levels SHOULD be accountable to the people who fund it, and that’s the taxpayers. Transparency is the only way that taxpayers know whether or not our interests are being managed effectively and correctly.
If this is the way that the town of Freedom manages the interests of its taxpayers perhaps it’s time that taxpayers start looking for town government representation that is interested in open and honest discourse and full disclosure.
I would give the Town a little more credit. There is a full investigation going on according to the newspaper article. The Town was straight up with that cop they charged a few years ago who was ultimately found guilty. He also tried to take Shackford down with him but was unsuccessful. Let’s see how the investigation turns out.