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Londonderry firefighters want chief ousted

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The union that represents Londonderry firefighters is turning to residents for support in an effort to oust Chief Kevin MacCaffrie. Call your council members and demand that the safety of your community and firefighters needs to be protected, Londonderry Professional Fire Fighters Local 3160 said in a press release.

“We believe the Londonderry Fire Department deserves a much stronger leader,” union President Anthony Maccarone said yesterday. “The town is paying him $109,000 and not getting the absolute best. He is slowly destroying the department.”

The union gave a no confidence vote to the chief in September.

“We attempted to work with the town administration to come to a resolution; however, we could not find common ground,” the union said in its statement.

An effort to mediate the dispute failed, according to Maccarone.

MacCaffrie yesterday declined comment, referring questions to Town Administrator David Caron.

Caron said he reviewed the union's complaints and MacCaffrie has done nothing to merit replacement.

“The chief has been very proactive in attempting to resolve concerns,” Caron said. “His overtures have been rejected.”

He said any adjustments he thought the chief needed to make were done after his review of the complaints, but he would not get into specifics because it is a personnel matter.

The town was under no obligation to enter mediation, but agreed to do so, Caron said.

During mediation, the union demanded the chief be replaced, that his successor come from among four captains on the Fire Department, and that a vacant deputy chief's post be filled, which would have cost the town more than $100,000, Caron said.

The union was willing to consider MacCaffrie's demotion to deputy chief, according to Caron.

“Those demands were rejected out of hand,” he said.

Londonderry Town Council Vice Chairman Sean O'Keefe said the town charter limits the council's role in such disputes, making them the responsibility of the town administrator.

“This is not an issue for the council,” O'Keefe said.

The union might see it differently.

“This vote of 'no confidence' is to serve as a notification of liability to the Town of Londonderry, Town Council and Town Manager David Caron,” the union said in its statement.

The union maintains MacCaffrie has displayed an inability to present department and budget issues, affecting the level of service firefighters can deliver the town.

The chief has been unable to explain the consequences of budget shortfalls or cuts, in the union's view.

“The taxpayers and councilors are told we 'drop down' to account for budget shortages. These 'rolling layoffs' have occurred for the past three years resulting in some of the lowest on-shift staffing levels in department history,” the union said.

“These manpower shortages directly affect safety and services and are not in line with any national safety standards for the delivery of emergency services,” the union said.

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