Harvard Fire trustee questions 'unethical' appointment process

New lieutenant appointments include board president's daughter

After the recent appointment of three Harvard Fire Protection District lieutenants, one trustee questioned the selection process for the 11 potential candidates – especially because one of the picks was the board president’s daughter.

In May, Fire Chief Steve Harter was reappointed by a 2-1 vote with district Trustee Joseph Clarke voting no. Clarke also opposed a subsequent vote in June allowing Harter to appoint new officers as he sees fit, questioning the chief’s credentials as a certified fire officer. Both motions were made by board President Thomas Condon.

With these two matters approved, Condon on Tuesday moved forward with the appointment of Mark Menzel, Chuck Lorenz and Kara Bough – Condon’s daughter – to become lieutenants.

“I knew you were going to have an issue, Joe, and I respect that, but it’s going to happen,” Condon said to Clarke.

The appointments were voted on at once and approved, 3-2, with Condon and Trustees Jim Carbonetti and Josh Keinhofer voting yes.

After the vote, Clarke read a statement on the lack of trustee consultation through the selection process.

“I believe these actions by Trustee Condon and Chief Harter are very suggestive of an unethical quid-pro-quo and may lead to litigation brought on by other members of the fire department,” Clarke said.

Condon said he took exception to Clarke’s opinions, which were his alone.

Trustee Roger Hugg, who voted no, claimed no documentation on the selection process was provided ahead of the vote despite multiple requests for it.

“And I certainly hope that the situation improves in the future that when something is asked for by the board that it is given to the board,” Hugg said.

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