WESTFIELD - The Westfield Board of Fire Commissioners will have one less member. It was announced at the Westfield Village Board meeting Monday night BOFC Chair Barry Underwood had submitted a letter of resignation.
Mayor Michael VandeVelde read the resignation letter during the meeting. The letter was dated March 26 with the resignation effective immediately.
"I will no longer dedicate the time and the effort as a volunteer on a board that was obviously unable to help people who think they do not need to be helped," the letter stated. "I suggest you prepare the village board to be ready to deal with the issues and the B.S. from the (fire department) front and center. Good luck and remember you are elected to represent all citizens of the village on these issues, not just the members of the (fire department) ..."
The village board accepted the resignation with regrets and thanks. VandeVelde said Underwood put "everything he had into the BOFC."
"I would like to say that certainly that Barry poured his heart and soul into the BOFC. I certainly knew that he was putting everything he had into the BOFC," he said.
With Underwood's resignation, the BFOC no longer will have a quorum. The meeting scheduled for tonight has been canceled. The meeting was set to take place at 7 p.m. at Eason Hall.
- In October 2013, reports indicated that village officials noticed problems with financial reimbursements that Fire Chief Stephen Pacanowski was asking for from the village.
- As fire chief, Pacanowski could get reimbursements for village work. According to the fire commission, the problem arose when Pacanowski failed to give receipts for the money he was asking to be reimbursed for.
- After the Nov. 5, 2013 meeting of the Westfield Board of Fire Commissioners, and following an executive session, Fire Chief Stephen Pacanowski received an email stating that he was immediately suspended from his duties as chief of the Westfield Fire Department. No reasons for the suspension were given at the time.
- At the same time, Jim Pacanowski was suspended from his duties as treasurer of the department.
- In March, an investigation by the Public Integrity Unit of the New York State Attorney General's Office concluded. The investigation was looking into the possible mishandling or criminal mishandling of public funds.
- At this time, Board of Fire Commissioners Chair Barry Underwood announced that Commissioner Brad Szymczak had resigned as a member of the BOFC.
- On Monday, March 31, 2014, BOFC Chair Barry Underwood resigned.