Honored firefighter put on leave

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Naugatuck Fire Capt. David Seeger has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a disciplinary hearing on Thursday. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — Weeks after being honored as Firefighter of the Year by the Naugatuck Exchange Club, Fire Capt. David Seeger has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a disciplinary hearing.

Human Resources Assistant Carmella Rinaldi confirmed Seeger was on paid administrative leave, but was not able to provide more details. Seeger declined to comment.

Although he declined to name the employee, Fire Chief Ken Hanks said one captain was on administrative leave, and the Fire Commission will discuss possible discipline after a Thursday hearing. Attorney Nicholas J. Grello, of Siegel, O’Connor, O’Donnell & Beck in Hartford, will represent the borough, and a lawyer for Local 1219, the firefighters’ union, will represent the captain, Hanks said.

The hearing will be held in executive session and the commission will make a public decision afterward, said Wayne Malicki, chair of the Fire Commission.
“It’s a personnel issue,” Malicki said. “Nothing I can discuss.”

Seeger was placed on leave last week and other captains have been filling in for him on overtime, said Capt. James Trzaski, a past Firefighter of the Year charged with nominating last year’s recipient. Trzaski said he did not know why Seeger was on leave, but to his knowledge, the Exchange Club’s award still stands.
“He’s still a recipient of the Firefighter of the Year award for all the volunteer service he’s done,” Trzaski said. “We haven’t discussed anything, but we’re just assuming everything’s as is.”

Seeger became a volunteer firefighter in 1978 and joined the borough’s career fire department in 1984. He has been a captain since 2002. He is involved in almost every union fundraiser for youth sports and other local causes, according to a fire department release announcing him as 2011 Firefighter of the Year. He has helped manage other department activities for children, such as the annual fire prevention poster contest for fourth- and fifth-graders.

A former vice president of the Union City Little League, Seeger now volunteers as assistant administrator for a district of Little League programs in 11 Naugatuck Valley towns, from Watertown to Shelton.

He lives in Middlebury and made more than $113,000 last year, including overtime, according to the borough’s accounting department.