Big turnout for meeting on Three Rivers chief, but hearing was cancelled

No resolution to ongoing controversy

THREE RIVERS, Mass. (WWLP) – A disciplinary hearing concerning the Three Rivers Fire Chief was postponed indefinitely Thursday morning. The crowd that had shown up for the meeting was so large, that the meeting had to be moved into the fire station garage.

It’s a controversy that has gone on for months. Three Rivers Fire Chief Scott Turner is waiting to see if he will be disciplined by the Prudential Committee-Three Rivers version of a board of Selectmen.  The discussions Thursday were whether to move forward with discipline for how the Chief runs the fire department. One Committee member said he would resign if they didn’t move forward with the issue. “I’m not going through this again I’ll resign my post,” Donald Reimes said at the meeting.

Chief Turner told 22News that the Committee questioned him last month about operational spending, purchasing and work hours. “Misuse of time, vacation time, not providing notice that I was using vacation or sick time when I was off. Just things of that nature,” Chief Turner said.

But Chief Turner’s Attorney Jack Collins said the Committee never formally charged the Chief with anything.  Collins said this is a case of small town politics.

“I think the Chair  mistakenly believes that maybe the Chief took the wrong side in elections, and at this point in time, it’s quite frankly retaliation,” Collins said.

“His concerns were what he didn’t do in his written response, apparently he feels he didn’t know what he had to respond to and that’s where the Prudential Committee…where there’s confusion,” Prudential Committee Attorney Carolyn Scott-Howe said.

Ray Domey, Chairman of the Prudential Committee said, “We just had a couple of issues that we wanted to correct and all of a sudden it became a  national event.”

The Prudential Committee will now come up with a formal list of charges to be presented to the Chief that he can respond to in a timely manner.

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