A high-ranking former member of Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s cabinet—one-time acting Fire Commissioner and current Chief of Department Kevin MacCurtain—plans to snub tonight’s State of the City Address, a move that could lead Hizzoner to contemplate a “nation-wide search” for a new BFD Chief of Department, Boston Daily has learned.
A BFD source said that MacCurtain “wants to stand by the men” by refusing to attend tonight’s event at the Strand, leaving just civilian Fire Commissioner Rod Fraser on the stage next to Menino.
Local 718 President Ed Kelly confirmed MacCurtain’s no-show: “It’s a sign that management is supporting us,” Kelly said.
With the union planning to protest outside the event, the lack of a firefighter uniform on the stage with Menino will be glaring. There was talk that City Hall would put an order in writing forcing MacCurtain to attend, but that move was abandoned Tuesday afternoon, sources said.
MacCurtain was not immediately available for comment. His move is a bold one, albeit potentially ill-advised. No one in recent memory has defied Menino in such a blatant, slap-in-the-face way during his regime. MacCurtain served as acting Commissioner, bridging the gap between Paul Christian and Fraser.
It also comes at a time when the BFD is in crisis-mode, with allegations of cheating on promotion exams, and seemingly rampant taxpayer-funded disability schemes. But at the center of the fight is Kelly’s steadfast refusal to allow his members to be drug tested without financial compensation.
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