Chief Davol of Fall River Not Deposed

Chief Davol of Fall River Not Deposed

Some time ago when Mayor Kay, of Fall River, Mass., learned that the board of fire commissioners had decided to ask for the resignation of Chief W. C. Davol of the fire department, he demanded that action be deterred until he had looked into the matter, and asked the fire commissioners for a statement of facts upon which they had based their decision. Following is a copy of the commissioners’ reply to Mayor Kav:

“We called for the resignation of the chief engineer because, in our opinion, lie, at the age of 72 years, is no longer fitted for the physical and mental strain to which any chief of a fire department in a city of this size is constantly subject. To be always on the alert for the alarm of danger, day an night: to be ready to respond to calls at all hours and in all kinds of weather, as well as to properly perform the labor of the executive office of the board in overseeing the routine work of the men, in caring for the apparatus, and other necessary duties— is not, in our judgment, work suitable for a man who is so far advanced in age. and we feel that we should fail in our duty imposed upon us to protect the lives and property of the people of this city if we allowed our action in the matter to be influenced by our personal feelings or regard for any particular incumbent. It is indeed, obvious that so far as the length of years in service constitutes a claim to be retained in an office of this character, the actual unfitness after a certain period will increase in proportion to the strength of the claim thus founded Other reasons for our action are that the chief engineer has repeatedly failed to carry out the orders of the board, and lias been negligent in the performance of his duties.”

Mayor Kay in a lengthy reply to the fire commissioners in part says:

“It is my duty to have a general supervision and control over the various departments of the city, and one of the most important of which is the fire department. The chief of the fire department has served in that capacity for a great many years, and, so far a I am aware, performed his duties ill a very satisfactory manner, so much so that I feel that it would be difficult at the present time to procure a successor who would prove equally valuable to the city. This being the case, I do not think that steps should be taken towards his removal excepting for adequate and serious cause. Your action in this matter has received almost universal public disapproval, and the removal of the present chief would be very serious change in the department and one in which our citizens arc deeply concerned. If there existed serious misconduct on the part of the chief, there should have been no request for his icsignation, but the charges should have been promptly preferred and, if sustained, nroper action taken with regard thereto. Your action is therefore not only contrary to public policy, but it is in direct violation of the requirements of your department, which provides that whenever charges are pending against a member, the board will not entertain any request tresign from said member.’ For the above and other reasons, 1 must again request you to take no further action in the matter until you have stated to me fully and definitely, in writing the facts upon which your charges are based in order that I may fully consider them and take such action with regard thereto as may be just and wise after a full consideration of all the circumstances connected with the matter. I shall be obliged to consider any failure to comply with this reasonable request as being agains the public interest, in which event it will cecome my duty to take prompt action to conserve the public welfare. Great harm has already been done, and so long as the present situation continues it will be impossible to maintain the fire department at its highest efficiency.”

CHIEF W. C. DAVOL, FALL RIVER, MASS.

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