Central Coventry Fire District Chief resigns amid bankruptcy

COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — Big changes were brought to the forefront in the latest meeting for the Central Coventry Fire District Monday night.

Firefighters in the district learned that Chief Andrew Baynes has resigned.

“It definitely came to us by surprise, although the writing has been on the wall for some time. There’s been friction between the department of revenue and the chief,” said union president David Gorman.

In light of Baynes resignation, the receiver’s office appointed Shawn Murray as fire district administrator and interm chief of the Central Coventry Fire District. Murray was a former fire chief in Hudson, N.H. and served as the Director of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy. The change is just one of many for the district as the bankruptcy proceedings continue.

“There is a reorganization of the fire department from four platoons to three platoons, a change in the work schedule from 42 hours to 56 hours, and various other staffing and other changes that will hopefully allow us to right the ship through the bankruptcy,” said department of revenue attorney Tim Cavazza.

A new receiver, the honorable Mark Pfieffer, will also be taking over for the district.

It has been almost two weeks since the Central Coventry Fire District filed for bankruptcy, and the changes have firefighters concerned.

“They’re concerned there is always that realization of you could be out of a job,” said Gorman.

The Department of Revenue Director, Rosemary Booth Gallogly said the quicker the process can get done, the cheaper it will be for the district.

Union President David Gorman said he will continue to try and reach an agreement with the department of revenue and the receiver, but he still believes the district is solvent.

“Our numbers from our independent auditing firm paint a much different picture from what the department of revenue is making,” said Gorman. “We’re prepared to move that forward in the bankruptcy proceedings.”

The next meeting for the union with the department of revenue will be held Wednesday.

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