EMERSON, N.J.– Emerson officials on Monday night began an inquiry into accusations of misconduct against former borough Fire Chief Dan O'Brien.
O'Brien returned the borough-owned chief's vehicle, a mid-2000s Chevrolet Suburban, later than the imposed deadline, parked it in a way that it was inaccessible, and let the battery die, current Assistant Fire Chief Thomas Carlos said in his testimony.
O'Brien also purportedly smeared electrician's grease on the handles of the fire extinguishers.
“I think he did that to harass and annoy me and to embarrass the Emerson Fire Department," said Carlos, a borough Department of Public Works employee who served as fire chief in 2015.
O'Brien, who has been on leave since Jan. 6, 2015, lost to Carlos in the chief's election at the end of 2014.
Afterwards, “I think he was very bitter with the department," Carlos said.
An email from O'Brien to the Park Ridge fire chief – with 19 others CC'd – calling Carlos an "ex-arson chief" was also discussed.
O'Brien began his testimony before the meeting was stopped at 11:30 p.m.
The hearing will be continued at a later but yet undetermined date, according to Mayor Lou Lamatina.
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