Mayor Mitchell terminates former Acting Fire Chief Coderre for ‘dishonesty’, ‘untruthfulness’ surrounding work-related injuries
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE)- Mayor Jon Mitchell announced that he has terminated the former New Bedford Acting Fire Chief Paul Coderre Jr., for issues surrounding work-related injuries.
Coderre served as the New Bedford Deputy Fire Chief from 2011 to 2018, becoming Acting Fire Chief in December of 2018. He returned to his previous position in 2022 when Scott Kruger became the Fire Chief.
According to the Mayor’s office, Coderre claimed to have sustained work-related injuries throughout 2019, placing him on leave until August 2020 receiving full pay.
Due to videos showing Coderre participating in activities “inconsistent” with his alleged injuries, such as moving a 176-pound grill from his truck, a medical examiner who previously accepted Coderre’s injuries reassessed his claims.
The examiner found that Coderre had been “untruthful” and “putting on an act.”
Coderre was paid $208,574 throughout the period of August 2020 to the end of 2021, and was exempt from paying taxes during that time. His salary as Acting Fire Chief was $150,000.
A hearing was set for January 13 under Hearing Officer Gerald Hayes, both Coderre and his lawyer declined to attend. The following statement was issued on the findings of the hearing,
“Coderre’s actions reflect discredit, not credit, on the Fire Department and likely will adversely impact good order inside the department. He engaged in an activity that is detrimental to the Fire Department. He engaged in conflict of interest to use his position for personal gain. He abused the department injury leave policy. It is probable that these actions were known within the typically tight knit firefighter community with adverse impact on member morale and discipline. It would not be a surprise if they lead to very serious disrespect for superior officers by some and attempts at similar dishonest behavior such as exhibited by Deputy Chief Coderre by others.”
Mayor Mitchell also released a statement on the matter,
“The former Acting Chief failed to adhere to the policies and procedures of his own Department, in doing so he betrayed the trust of the firefighters that served under his command, and he took advantage of city taxpayers who paid his injured-on-duty benefits.” Mitchell added, “New Bedford residents expect and deserve a Fire Department whose every member adheres to the highest professional standards, regardless of rank.”