Chief Jack; It just gets better and better...

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 Chief Jack; It just gets better and better...

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Dave
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20100415
PostChief Jack; It just gets better and better...

This is what voter apathy gets you...

“My dealings with him I thought were always very positive,” Mr. Carroll said. “I don’t know an individual of greater honor and dignity. He’s the type of person I would want as a neighbor.”

Chief Jack FIRED.

I can't wait to see how they spin this one on their cable show...


Quote :
SEEKONK - After six years on the job Seekonk Fire Chief Alan Jack is on his way out after the board of selectmen voted in executive session Wednesday night not to-renew his contract.

Chief Jack was informed of the decision in-person by town administrator Michael Carroll Thursday morning. Because the matter was handled in executive session, Mr. Carroll could not reveal how individual selectmen voted.

Prior to the executive session vote, Chief Jack’s contract was discussed during the meeting’s open session. Here, dozens of individuals packed the selectmen’s meeting room with others spilling out into the hallway. Along with Seekonk residents, those in attendance included the Attleboro and Fall River Fire Chiefs.

Of all those who spoke, not a bad word was uttered about Chief Jack or his tenure running the fire department.

“We know personally what he’s done for our town. He’s progressive, he wants things to get better. He’s in it for the long haul. He’s not some fly-by-night kind of chief,” said resident Lori Hardman on Thursday. “He’s an outstanding chief and and it so infuriating that you have someone who does such a good job and they treat him like this. I’d really like them to give all of us in the town an explanation as to why they made that decision and it better be a good one.”

Chief Jack said he requested to speak with the selectmen after submitting a letter of intent for a new contract four months ago.Chief Jack said he never received a response from the board. In his time with Seekonk, Chief Jack has never received a performance evaluation.

“I’ve never been told that I was not performing to their expectations,” Chief Jack said. “I am kind of surprised. I don’t know what lead up to this. There are a number of rumors out there, but it’s not for me to credit or discredit any of those. I’m kind of disappointed. I think the department was on a good route, heading in the right direction ... God, if I’m not performing to their expectations who could be?”

Before moving into executive session, Mr. Carroll recommended the board give Chief Jack either a one or three-year extension.

“My dealings with him I thought were always very positive,” Mr. Carroll said. “I don’t know an individual of greater honor and dignity. He’s the type of person I would want as a neighbor.”

Selectmen chairman Robert Richardson did not immediately return The Star’s request for comment. Chief Jack’s last day will be June 30.


Last edited by Dave on Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:49 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Title amended to better identify subject matter- d)
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Chief Jack; It just gets better and better... :: Comments

Dave,

Why do you believe voter apathy is the reason for Chief Jack's non-renewal? Are you suggesting Mr Cavaco orchestrated the event?

Secondly, with all due respect, your topic line reeks of sarcasm. I thought better of you.

Finally, I am heartbroken for Chief Jack and the town. I hope the BOS has a very good reason for not reappointing the Chief. We have a right to know. The truth will come out.
Seek- I guess how you can interpret this depends on how you view the actions of the BOS. If you think that they are providing great leadership in removing a Fire Chief that for all appearances had an unblemished record than you should be disappointed in me because of my sarcasm.

I am more disappointed in the apathy in this Town that keeps the same wheel spinning, same people, same behavior. I guess it just depends on the direction that you see the wheel spinning in. I am still stinging from the lack of anyone running for the SC from the get go...thus the apathy comment...not sure what your mentioned Mr. Cavaco was all about?

Wendy- if there was a reason to let him go don't you feel as a taxpayer that you had the right to know? Of course that would require communication and transparency...here I go getting sarcastic again.

-sigh
Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
Wow What a loss
Post on Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:19 am  birdman3398
I am sorry to see chiief Jack go he is a man of Honor and integrity. Any dealings with the chief I had were always top notch. That is what goes on in these board rooms and these executive sessions. The members get to be two faced they smile at you up front but watch your back OUCH !!!


Last edited by Dave on Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:17 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : NOTE: Merged two topics together on same subject- D)
Dave: To clarify what I wrote in my previous post, I am obviously disappointed by the actions of the BOS. That is because I have no reason to believe that Chief Jack should be replaced. .

I am sure you are aware of the events surrounding the firing of a well-liked middle school teacher last year. Early on, I heard there were many disappointed teachers and students. Now that we know the truth, justice shall prevail.

My point is there are two sides to every story. Until I get the other side, I see this as an injustice to Chief Jack and to the Town of Seekonk.

I am disappointed by your sarcasm because you seem to be using this as an "I told you so" moment. With all due respect, such language shows a lack of leadership on your part. How do you expect to mend what is broken between the school committee and the BOS with such behavior? I know you are a competitive sports guy. Like so many of that species, are you looking to score points or do you want to move forward as one? Sorry if I am misunderstanding your message. Just sayin...

As for the voter apathy, I thought you were referring to Mr Cavaco's surprising win over John Turner. Having said that, I agree your point. Great things can happen when a well informed electorate heads to the polls. We saw that with the 2006 override when voters came out in droves to defeat the question. At that time, we had a School Committee and administration that did not see the writing on the wall years earlier, so Seekonk was forced to close a school. No town should have to be put through that hellish ordeal. I sometimes wonder how many children still have emotional scars because of what those so-called grownups put them through.
For me it was not an "I told you so moment" but more of a, "here we go again" moment. It might be my frustration coming out lately but it seems that every time that I read the newspaper concerning our town leadership the news is not so good.

It takes two sides working together to communicate. I have already documented a fraction of the reasons that it appears to be a one way road at this point and time. I am proud to be on a committee with people who act professional and that I can trust.


D
Wendy wrote:
Dave, yes, I think I should have the right to know--that's my gut feeling. And I want to know why Jack was fired. But I kind of want to argue/think it through a little..

Wendy, I think it is important to clarify one very important point. Chief Jack was not "fired". At least not as far as I know. The BOS exercised their authority to not reappoint. And I will give the board credit for not trying to force him out mid-contract, as has been the case in the past.


IMO, the employee's right to privacy is more important than our right to know. In the case of Chief Jack, he seems sincerely clueless. HE is owed an explanation. If he cares to share it with us, that is his right. I suspect the conflict is political or managerial differences. If that's the case, let's hope the selectmen swallow their pride and reverse this injustice. I can't imagine we can do any better. But I certainly think we could do much worse.
It raises an interesting question. In thinking back on all of the situations that I am aware of where a public employee was fired, resigned, or let go...when they were fired the reason was usually in the media, when they resigned it usually only became of media interest if something criminal came out of it, if someone was let go then you usually did not hear much about it.

However when a department head is let go and claims that they have no idea why and has no issues with their job performance- doesn't that just seem wrong..or at the very least shouldn't you challenge why?

Sometimes leadership is calling out something that you think is wrong and asking someone to be accountable, I have been there done that and will continue to do so. What message was sent by the BOS to all Town employees with the way this was handled?

Seek- they claim in a Sun article that the minutes will be released sometime next week. Let us hold them to that.

Quote :
SEEKONK - Fire Chief Alan Jack is losing his job, and says he doesn't know why.

Selectmen voted in executive session Wednesday night not to renew the chief's contract, which expires on June 30.

A perplexed Jack was informed of the decision Thursday by Town Administrator Michael Carroll.

When contacted by the Sun Chronicle Thursday, Selectman Francis Cavaco would not divulge the details of the executive session, but said those minutes would be made available next week.


Selectmen Chairman Robert Richardson did not return calls for comment.
Jack told the Sun Chronicle he found the board's decision "kind of surprising" in light of a presentation he gave at Wednesday's selectmen's meeting in which he detailed accomplishments during his six-year tenure as fire chief.

Jack said the fire department has taken "gigantic strides" during the last few years, including improvements in emergency response times and generating increased revenue from ambulance billing and receipts.

"I don't understand the board's reasoning," Jack said. "I live in this town. I'm a taxpayer in this community. Are (selectmen) really serving the will of the people? I don't know."

Jack noted he has never been "written up," nor has he ever received an evaluation of his job performance as chief.

And at least one board member had been complimentary about his performance.

"I remember Selectman (John) Whelan saying in public, commenting about the fine job that we did a few weeks ago," Jack said, referring to the department's response to flooding last month.
"It's disappointing to say the least," he said. "I've tried to be a professional in everything I've done.

"I'm concerned about the direction which the fire department may be heading. My allegiance is to this department. We have a good core of people who do a wonderful job."

Residents and two area fire chiefs offered a spirited defense of Jack on Wednesday.

Carroll had suggested to the board that Jack be reappointed for either a one-year or three-year term.

At that meeting, Jack told the board that he was "concerned by a lack of communication" from them regarding his reappointment.

A number of residents spoke on Jack's behalf, along with colleagues such as Attleboro Fire Chief Ron Churchill, who called Jack "one of the finest gentlemen I ever met."

Jack says he intends to stay in his position until June 30 and to keep the department running as smoothly as possible.

"I thought the board and I had had a good relationship," Jack said. "Obviously, I was wrong."



Dave: Given the process and circumstances of the executive session vote, I wonder if open meeting law may have been violated. If what Mr Cavaco promises comes true, why else would they be rushing to release the minutes?

Not that many years ago, a previous TA had fallen months behind regarding the release of the minutes.

Something certainly seems rotten in Denmark.
I am concerned that if the BOS changes their decision it will show weakness on their part. If you make a decision like this you had better make sure it is the right one! I have heard thru the grapevine that he has put a wedge between the full-time Firefighters and the Call Fire Fighters, both of whom do an excellent job. We need a department that works as a team and not as one against the other. Also, I hope the next Chief is told that he has to work as a team.
betterhealth: IMO, the BOS have exposed a bigger weakness. If what Chief Jack says is true, don't you think it is pretty cowardly to avoid confronting the Chief with any managerial issues before taking such an extreme action? To make matters worse, they avoid making eye contact with their victim by hiding behind closed doors to rip away the man's livlihood. Wouldn't you agree such behavior to be pretty immature?

Speaking of childishness, I've heard the rumors. I don't know the details. But I've heard enough to believe that the BOS are being pressured to oust the Chief by certain people. Such covert activity is not unusual.

The bottom line is this. How can the BOS justify replacing Chief Jack if he was never given formal written or verbal warning so he could take corrective action?

BTW, I would rather have the BOS show "weakness" by reversing a bad decision than showing arrogance by ignoring the citizens. Don't you think we get enough of that from Washington?
This is an interesting scenario. If no one comes out to address the reasons, then I would imagine some of them will be answered when the identity of the Chiefs replacement is disclosed. If turns out to be a subordinate then I think the odds that it was a political maneuver are pretty good. If it was an outsider, maybe they were cheaper.

But to answer your question Wendy regarding our right to know, as taxpayers I think that is a yes for all public employees. We don't need to know the specifics, but we can certainly be told that this person was not performing their duties they way they should have been, or whatever the case may be.

In Chief Jack's case, if he is really in the dark as to why his contract was not renewed, then the BOS at the very least owes him and the public an explanation. Otherwise he gets regulated to the same status as the former Animal Control Officer and former Veterans agent who were also not fired, but rather did not have their contracts renewed.
And also to speak to your point about the minutes Seek. I just checked the BOS website and they are almost 2 months behind on the minutes, so the rush to release theses is pretty interesting.
Mike, you hit the nail on the head when you said we will understand more when a replacement is named.

I had heard a rumor about ousting Chief Jack a few months ago along with another even crazier component of that rumor which I dismissed as preposterous at that time. Now having seen the first part of the rumor come true, I shudder to think about the second part.

I support Chief Jack and think we can do a LOT worse in finding an interim replacement and a permanent replacement.

I also don't like the way the BOS is treating our Town Administrator lately. I don't get a good feeling about his longevity here in Seekonk even though he has more Massachusetts municipal knowledge and experience than the whole BOS put together.
Yeah...also a great point Terry. I think Mike is closing in on the last year of his contract. Let's say hypothetically that they don't renew his contract either. At that point Seekonk will have had a pretty solid history of kicking it's hired help to the curb. Do we really expect to attract competent candidates with that kind of a reputation?

That was one reason why I did not support changing Mr. Carrol's titles from Administrator to Manager. To many of our TA's turn into scapegoats for our BOS's incompetence.
terrybohax wrote:
Mike, you hit the nail on the head when you said we will understand more when a replacement is named.

I had heard a rumor about ousting Chief Jack a few months ago along with another even crazier component of that rumor which I dismissed as preposterous at that time. Now having seen the first part of the rumor come true, I shudder to think about the second part.

I support Chief Jack and think we can do a LOT worse in finding an interim replacement and a permanent replacement.

I also don't like the way the BOS is treating our Town Administrator lately. I don't get a good feeling about his longevity here in Seekonk even though he has more Massachusetts municipal knowledge and experience than the whole BOS put together.

That rumor wouldn't happen to be about a former fire chief/selectman would it? Coincidently, I think he resigned from the planning board just this past fall. The residents of Seekonk may mistake all the "shuddering at the thought" for an earthquake.

If the BOS plan on going through with this, there is no reason for them to hire an interim. Chief Jack says he plans on staying until his contract expires on 6/30. The BOS should have plenty of time to find a permanent replacement.

As for the Mr Carroll, I agree. However, he at least received a public evaluation. From what I remember it was not all that great. I actually agreed with some negative points. For instance, he doesn't seem to move very quickley on repeated requests by the BOS. Another thing, the TA is likely the person responsible for communicating any dissatisifaction the BOS may have with the department heads, ie Chief Jack.

In any event, if Mr Carroll wants to remain in Seekonk, (and I certainly hope he does) I hope he is doing his best to improve on his shortcomings. Like Chief Jack, we probably can't do any better. But we certainly can do much worse.
Affirmative, seek2mend - same rumor. Let the shuddering begin.

I had to laugh tonight when all the selectmen made a point to reappoint Ms.Bragg by saying ' There's no reason to remove or replace someone when they're doing a good job'. Hmmm.. the irony of it all...
avatar
Jack is Back!
Post on Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:02 am  terrybohax
Seekonk fire chief back
BY JOSEPH S. SIEGEL FOR THE SUN CHRONICLEThursday, April 22, 2010 3:15 AM EDT

SEEKONK - Selectmen abruptly and unexpectedly reversed themselves Wednesday night, voting to reappoint Fire Chief Alan Jack.

The chief was given a three-year contract.

Only last week, selectmen voted in executive session not to reappoint Jack, a decision that stunned and angered many residents.

Wednesday's vote was 4-1, with Selectman John Whelan the lone holdout. Selectmen Chairman Robert Richardson and Selectmen Francis Cavaco, Dave Parker and Michael Brady voted to reappoint Jack.

The meeting began with a statement from Cavaco that he opposed the board's move last week not to reappoint Jack, whose contract was due to expire June 30. Richardson announced to a packed room of residents that the board had voted in an executive session to renew Jack's contract.

Resident Gary Sagar, who had questioned the legality of the board's earlier vote, told selectmen he was "troubled" that the vote took place behind closed doors, and requested a roll call vote.

Jack took the podium and expressed his gratitude to selectmen.

"I much look forward to working with this board," Jack said. "I have utmost respect for this board."

Jack also thanked members of the fire department "for standing behind me," as well as residents who lobbied the board on his behalf.

Sagar told The Sun Chronicle last week there had been "widespread community outrage" over the board's earlier decision.

And Jack told The Sun Chronicle that he found the board's earlier decision "kind of surprising" in light of a presentation he gave at the April 14 meeting in which he enumerated accomplishments made during his tenure as chief.

At that meeting, a number of residents praised Jack, along with colleagues including Attleboro Fire Chief Ronald Churchill, who called Jack "one of the finest gentlemen I ever met."

Joseph S. Siegel covers Seekonk for The Sun Chronicle. He can be reached at joesiegel@cox.net.
very strange...
Quote :
Seekonk delays release of minutes
BY JOSEPH S. SIEGEL FOR THE SUN CHRONICLEFriday, May 7, 2010 3:14 AM EDT

SEEKONK - Minutes from selectmen's April 14 executive session in which they voted not to renew Fire Chief Alan Jack's contract still have not been released, even though the board had said the minutes would be released a week after the meeting.

Town Administrator Michael Carroll said the board had voted to release the minutes, but then opted to revise the contents to include more detail about the discussion. Carroll said he now expects the board to vote to release the minutes at the May 12 selectmen's meeting.

The fire chief's future has bounced back and forth.

After initially voting not to renew Jack's contract, selectmen unexpectedly voted on April 21 to reverse that decision and reappointed the chief to a three-year term.

Jack's old contract expires June 30. The subsequent vote to reappoint was 4-1, with Selectman John Whelan opposed. Selectmen Chairman Robert Richardson and Selectmen Francis Cavaco, Dave Parker and Michael Brady voted yes.

Richardson declined to comment for this report.

In an interview with The Sun Chronicle Thursday Whelan explained why he voted not to retain Jack.

"I have no ill will toward him," Whelan said, but added he was disappointed with what he perceived as a "lack of vision" Jack had for the department.

Whelan said he also was not impressed with Jack's budget presentation to the board, and cited internal personnel issues and morale problems in the fire department.

Further, her criticized Jack for not providing adequate rescue coverage in the town's north and south ends. Whelan said he holds Jack responsible for recent resignations of some call firefighters. He said there were 19 call firefighters in 2007, and now there are only 5.

Jack said in an interview that Whelan never shared any of those concerns with him, and disputed some of Whelan's figures.

There was a popular outcry in town against the initial decision not to renew Jack's contract, but Whelan said he was not swayed.

"I will not give in to popular opinion," he said. "I was elected to make tough decisions."

And Whelan vowed not to sign Jack's new contract, noting there will be "a lot of things (in it) that weren't there before."

Jack said he was "disappointed" in Whelan's comments, adding that despite limited resources, the response times for the department has not been affected.

"We're going to try to do the best we can to serve the people in the community," Jack said.

Why would the records kept for an executive session be changed?

Why would details be added to said record weeks after the event?


funny2
[quote="Dave"]
Quote :



Why would the records kept for an executive session be changed?

Why would details be added to said record weeks after the event?


funny2

My understanding is that until the minutes are approved by the BOS, they can be edited. Carol Bragg was a stickler for accuracy and painstakingly went through each weeks minutes before approving them.

I think the open meeting law outlines the minimum requirements. Just speculating. But I guess they can include more, but not less. I don't know if the record keeper tapes the minutes. But if she does, maybe they are trying to give a clearer picture as to what occurred. Doesn't the school committee have similar protocol?

Given Whelan's public comments, his behavior, and the resignation of three call firefighters, I for one want as much detail as the law allows.
Everything we do is taped and it should be that way for every board. Though it is not uncommon to edit minutes for the purposes of a correction, in my short time on an elected body I have not heard of editing the minutes to add information well after the meeting took place.
I have to say Whelans comments about "being elected to make tough decisions" kind of cracks me up.

Had I been the editor I would have withdrawn, restated and added "when I actually show up for a meeting" cheers
Quote :
Board keeps details secret

SEEKONK - Selectmen have again delayed release of minutes of an April 14 closed session in which they initially voted not to renew Fire Chief Alan Jack's contract - this time so the minutes can be redacted.

In an abrupt reversal of the mid-April vote, selectmen subsequently voted in open session a week later to award Jack a three-year contract. His current contract expires on June 30.

Ever since, the board has said it will release minutes of the executive session - but has not, citing a number of reasons.

Now, board members are holding back the minutes until they have had a chance to review a new set of revisions, Town Administrator Michael Carroll said Thursday.

Carroll told The Sun Chronicle the board had voted to release the minutes during an executive session following Wednesday's meeting. But, he said, they are now being sent back to be "redacted" - or edited to remove sensitive information - before they will be released to the public.

On May 6, Carroll said the board had voted to release the minutes, but then opted to revise the contents to include more detail about the discussion.

Selectman Francis Cavaco originally had said the minutes would be released the week of April 19.

The decision by Seekonk selectmen appears to be a violation of the state's Open Meeting Law.

The law specifies that minutes of meetings, including closed-door meetings called executive sessions, must be kept.

Executive session minutes are considered public records but "may remain secret as long as publication may defeat the lawful purposes of the executive session, but not longer." Once the issue is closed, the minutes should be available to the public.

The Open Meeting Law also requires officials to provide meeting minutes within 10 days of the date of the request for them.

The open meeting law does not contain any provisions for redacting minutes

I really think the original title for this thread of, "it just gets better and better", was perfect.

d
I would bet that there are peoples names mentioned in the minutes of that discussion based on letters, complaints and/or grievances that had been submitted over time. And those folks would not want their statements posted all over the place. (and maybe because its involving grievances etc they cant put it out there?)

Just go back to one of my earlier posts for the Banna Station vote. There was then and still is now a lot of issues out there that this has just made worse. As far as I am concerned the first vote was the right one and all those members did was fall to political pressure by people who had no idea what was going on. The BOS made a BIG mistake in not telling the story about why they voted the way they did that first night... Now. Who knows what will happen.
 

Chief Jack; It just gets better and better...

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