NAUGATUCK — Fire Commission Chairman Michael Bogis, a supporter of former Fire Chief Charles Doback, sent a letter of resignation to the mayor last week following repeated absences from commission meetings.
In his letter, Bogis cited personal reasons for his resignation, said Vice Chairman Wayne Malicki, who has been acting as chairman in Bogis’s stead.
Robert Allen, an alternate member of the commission, was appointed to replace Bogis for the rest of his term, which is to expire May 1.
“He’s served a long time,” Mezzo said of Allen. “The members of the commission, as well as the employees of the department, have long held him in high esteem.”
Bogis had served on the commission for 10 years and was chairman for the past seven, Malicki said. A recent surgery could have contributed to his decision to resign, Malicki said.
“I wish him the best at this point,” he said. “He did a good job. There were some problems later on, which all came about when the ex-chief retired, and we haven’t seen him since.”
Bogis advocated for Doback last summer during contract negotiations that ended in Doback’s resignation in September. Doback and the firefighters’ union often disagreed, and Bogis usually sided with Doback, Malicki said.
“To say the tension down there was thick would be an understatement,” he said.
Jim Ricci Jr., president of the firefighters’ union, said he is pleased Allen, a retired 22-year Naugatuck firefighter, will be appointed a regular commissioner.
“I think Bobby would be a great asset to the commission,” Ricci said. “In the past three months, the relationship between labor and management has been phenomenal.”
Bogis’s absence could be one reason for the improved relationship, but not the only one, Malicki said. Union members, commissioners and Fire Chief Ken Hanks said they have been making an effort for months to communicate more frequently and openly.
Although Allen will replace Bogis as a regular commissioner, his appointment does not make him the new chairman. The commission will hold an election in February.
Allen’s experience as a firefighter and active union member will make him a good commissioner, Malicki said.
“I turn to him myself, not having that background, for a lot of information,” he said. “I always felt that firemen would make the worst commissioners. He proved me wrong.”