WESTFIELD - The December meeting of the Westfield Board of Fire Commissioners began with a statement by Chairman Barry Underwood that no comment could be made on last month's suspension of the fire chief and treasurer; it ended with the resignation of Dave Spann, a two-year member of the commission, who also sits on the Westfield Town Board.
Last month, Westfield Fire Chief Stephen Pacanowski and Fire Department Treasurer Jim Pacanowski were suspended from their duties immediately following an executive session of the Board of Fire Commissioners. No reasons were given for the suspensions, but the BOFC commented that they had reasons, that these reasons would be made known at a later date, and that they were being kept private in order to "protect" the suspended officers. To date no one, including the Pacanowskis, has been informed of the reasons for the suspensions.
Meanwhile, acting Fire Chief William Bills and Assistant Jerry Ruch have stepped in to run the fire department, and by all accounts on all sides - department members as well as commission members - the members are very pleased with the job the two have been doing.
At the December meeting, it was necessary to take steps to appoint an acting treasurer, so that the department could pay its bills in the absence of a functioning treasurer.
At the conclusion of the commission meeting, and prior to the executive session, Spann announced that he is resigning from the BOFC, effective immediately.
He commented that he had expected to function as a liaison between the town and fire department, and this he was happy to do. But now, he feels that the commission is moving in to overseeing operations of the fire department. Spann feels that he does not know enough about the functioning of a fire department to perform this job effectively.
No BOFC action was taken after the executive session that followed the meeting.
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