BIDDEFORD, Maine — The Professional Fire Fighters of Maine (PFFM) was a conduit for a public message from the Biddeford Career Firefighters Local 3107 union on Tuesday, sharing a lengthy message on Facebook detailing why the group thinks the City of Biddeford should consider a new fire chief.
According to the post, the organization said Biddeford Fire Chief Scott Gagne's lack of leadership and trust made the Biddeford Career Firefighters Local 3107 take a unanimous vote of no confidence in Gagne and ask for his immediate replacement.
"We have no choice but to act, as the lives of every fire department employee and every citizen are at risk," the Facebook post said.
Following the union's public message, Biddeford City Manager James Bennett issued a press release.
"The union has not raised issues regarding the Fire Chief’s performance with the City Manager’s office at any time, even though the City Manager rather than the Council has direct hiring and firing authority of the chief," Bennett said.
The union's message said: "While we respect the chain of command, the lack of leadership and trust in our fire chief has driven the Biddeford Career Firefighters Local 3107, including the fire officers and rank and file firefighters to respectfully forward a unanimous vote of no confidence in Fire Chief Scott Gagne and to ask for his immediate replacement."
The post includes examples of what the department believes shows a lack of leadership and poor management under Chief Gagne.
Read the entire Facebook post below:
In response to the union's vote of no confidence in Chief Gagne, Bennett said he's "always seen Chief Scott Gagne advocate to improve the department with a laser focus on providing the very best service to the residents of this community."
"While the union’s statement seeks to place blame on the Fire Chief, the City is concerned that the union has repeatedly resisted proposed common-sense solutions that would improve the city’s ability to deliver life-saving services to the community," Bennett said. "We are requesting that the Union focus more on the safety of the citizens of the community and less on gaining leverage in ongoing union negotiations."
This story has been updated to correct that it was the union, not the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine, calling for the removal of Chief Gagne.