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Councilor files complaint against public safety commissioner

December 19, 2019 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Providence, Rhode Island, councilman has filed an ethics complaint against the city’s public safety commissioner, who he says won’t hire a new fire chief until his own pay is adjusted.

Providence City Councilman James Taylor filed the complaint against Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré with the city’s ethics commission Wednesday, according to The Providence Journal.

Paré said his pay, set when he was hired in 2011, was not reduced in seven city budgets until Taylor was elected to the council last year. He said Taylor’s actions reflect a personal vendetta since Taylor applied to be fire chief, but wasn’t selected.

The council cut the commissioner’s salary by $40,000 in summer because it hadn’t been approved by a salary review commission, then allocated Paré $40,000 from the unfilled fire chief position. Paré, who also serves as acting fire chief, earns $165,000.

He’s in charge of hiring a new fire chief, a position that has been vacant since 2015.

Paré told the council last month in a letter that he couldn’t appoint a fire chief until the council restored funding for his salary and fully funded the fire chief position. The fire chief’s full salary is also $165,000.

Taylor said in his complaint that he believes the letter is evidence of a quid pro quo that creates an ethical conflict.