By: Melissa Toupin
For days fire fighters at the Central Coventry Fire Department have been working for free as the department files for receivership, but that won't be the case for much longer. Tonight fire fighters set a deadline after which they'll stop working if they don't get paid.
Officials wrapped up a meeting just before 8 o'clock. They say a deadline is now looming, but won't say if that means days or weeks. Union officials say they have to notify the receiver before they make that information public.
Reality is setting in for fire fighters in Central Coventry as the town officially files for receivership. The fire fighters have been working with out pay for 10 days, but at a union meeting tonight they decided to put a time line on how long that will continue.
"We felt it was necessary to take actions to prevent our wages and income from being harmed in the future, and at this point we have picked a deadline for how long we we'll continue to work," said Capt. David Gorman of the Central Coventry Fire Department.
They're holding off on saying what that deadline is as they notify both the receiver and the judge. Meanwhile there's more controversy brewing in the department over today's receivership filing. Two officials, newly elected to the fire department's ruling board, say they were blind sided by the filing. Marie Fisher and David Jervis are set to be sworn in tomorrow night but weren't told it was happening.
"I could not believe it. I could not believe it that they would do that knowing there's these questions out there," said Jervis.
Among those questions is whether the board's decision to file for receivership was made legally. Fisher and Jervis say they also weren't a part of that vote. They've filed an inquiry with the Attorney General's office. Fisher says the department's financial problems have deep roots.
"This has been ongoing for years," said Fisher. "Who was watching the money? Who was the fiduciary of the money? I'm hearing a lot of blame, but I think the ultimate responsibility lies with the board."
If or when the fire fighters deadline comes several surrounding fire stations including Hopkins Hill and West Coventry have already guaranteed their assistance.