GARDINER — The city has hired a private investigator to look into potential violations of city policy in the fire department.

City Manager Scott Morelli said officials received information last month that prompted them to hire an outside investigator for an impartial look into the potential violations.

Morelli wouldn’t reveal the details of the alleged violations or how many firefighters are involved, though he said no action has been taken. Information regarding personnel matters are considered confidential under the Maine’s Freedom of Access laws and only final disciplinary measures are releasable public records.

He said disciplinary action could result in a written reprimand, suspension or termination.

“Because this is an ongoing personnel matter, I cannot comment on the specific outcome of the investigation or any disciplinary action taken,” Morelli said Thursday. “The matter will be considered final and not ongoing once any disciplinary measures have either passed the allotted time in which to file a grievance/appeal, or have been resolved through the grievance and/or arbitration process. However, we believe the measures the city has taken will address the concerns brought forth.”

Mayor Andrew MacLean said Fire Chief Mike Minkowsky and Morelli would be involved in any decisions on disciplinary action, but the city manager would have the final say.

City Councilor Robert Johnston said the council knows very little about the investigation.

“We have not received any information about that personnel thing other than there was a personnel thing going on,” Johnston said. “I have no idea of any actions taken or if it’s been broadcast. That’s totally an administrative thing and generally it doesn’t come to the council until they have something for us.”

Councilor Kendall Holmes said he knew the city hired an outside investigator to look at some potential violations of city personnel policies.

“But I couldn’t tell you, because I don’t know, whether anyone has been suspended,” Holmes said.

Minkowsky, the fire chief, declined to comment and so did Rich Kindelan, a representative of the Gardiner professional firefighters union — International Association of Firefighters 2303.

Morelli said the city’s fire protection coverage would not be affected during the investigation.

He said the city has long-standing protocols in place that include a 15-member call crew and mutual aid agreements with area communities “so that, in the event we are ever short-handed, the department remains fully operational to protect the public.”

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

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