Voters in the Blue Hills Fire District in Bloomfield elected a new fire commissioner, just months after a series of reports on thousands of dollars in stipends, bonuses and perks given to people running a fire district serving about 20,000 people.
"We’re gonna bring changes to this community, we’re gonna bring changes to this firehouse, I thank you all," the new incoming commissioner Jacqueline Massey-Green told voters after the tally.
Massey-Greene wants change after NBC Connecticut Troubleshooter reports on what commissioners-- essentially volunteers-- have received from the district. It includes a $5,000 annual stipend, thousands more in performance and holiday bonuses, plus other perks.
Through their attorney, commissioners previously said the precedent of stipends and holiday bonuses were set many years ago but performance bonuses began more recently.
Bloomfield Mayor Joan Gamble was present at the vote and she criticized commissioners for not being more transparent about their pay and benefits. She told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters she is only guardedly optimistic because Massey-Green is one of just three commissioners.
Two of the ones who have received sizable benefits remain on the board, which elects its commissioners in staggered terms. The board has its own taxing authority and operates independently from the Town of Bloomfield.