Dighton fire chief accused of using town money on personal wardrobe

Dighton Fire Chief Antone P. Roderick, Jr. seen shortly after receiving the President's Award from the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts. (Photo: Taunton Gazette | Mike Gay)

TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Dighton’s fire chief has been accused of using public funds to bulk up his own personal wardrobe.

Chief Antone Roderick, Jr. faced several criminal charges at his arraignment in Taunton District Court Tuesday.

Dighton Board of Selectmen Chairman Dean Cronin told Eyewitness News a recent private audit of town finances raised red flags with the fire department’s spending. Cronin said there were discrepancies with multiple firefighters’ clothing allowances, and he said it appeared Roderick was fudging numbers to conceal his own spending.

Cronin believes Roderick was using his own and other firefighters’ clothing allowances to buy personal items.

Each firefighter is allotted $1,050 a year for clothing, according to Cronin.

Cronin said they brought the discrepancies to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office about five months ago. Now, he said the DA’s office has filed the charges against Roderick, which include a public employee standards violation, larceny, and intimidation of a witness.

According to Cronin, Roderick is a 20-year veteran of the force and has been chief for the last 11 years. He was released from court on his own recognizance.

Cronin said he hopes Roderick’s job status will be decided ahead of a public meeting scheduled at Town Hall for 11 a.m. Wednesday

The DA’s office had no comment but said there will be a pre-trial conference on March 1, 2017.