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Central Falls receiver fires police chief

State-appointed Receiver Robert Flanders Jr. '71 fired Central Falls Police Chief Joseph Moran III Friday, along with a prosecution clerk for the police department and a deputy city clerk. The firings were part of a series of cost-cutting measures to help rescue the bankrupt city.

Flanders called the measure "personnel renewal," noting that three other positions were added to the city payroll.

"Our intent was always to eliminate this position" even before a study recommended the city's fire and police departments operate under the direction of one authority, Flanders said of Moran's former job.

Following the study's release in early September, Moran issued a nine-page rebuttal suggesting that the research was not substantive. "Normally when you do a study, you try to find out about a place before you rip it apart," Moran told The Herald last week.

"I guess I agree with his thought process as far as eliminating the position," Moran said, but added that he had a "different philosophy."

"The chief of police handles the police science and the fire chief handles the fire science," he said. "They're separate and distinct jobs." Moran added that other cities, like Providence, have retained the two positions — and added a public safety officer position — despite fiscal challenges.

Flanders estimated that the city would save over $70,000 per year through the elimination of the police chief position.

The district's former fire chief, Rene Coutu, died of cancer in December, and his position was never filled. Both he and Moran earned an annual salary of $80,000, according to a Sept. 24 Providence Journal article.

The new public safety officer should be appointed within the next month, Flanders said. He said the new officer will earn an annual salary of around $90,000.

Central Falls currently employs 32 police officers and 37 firefighters, according to a Sept. 9 Providence Journal article.

Moran, 48, has lived in Central Falls his entire life and said he is not sure what is next for him. "When one door closes, another one opens," he said.


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