Eldridge removed as West Ossipee Fire Chief by commissioners



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BRAD ELDRIDGE was removed from his position as West Ossipee Fire Chief by the West Ossipee Fire Precinct Commissioners following a nonpublic meeting with the former chief on March 28. (Mellisa Ferland photo) (click for larger version)
April 07, 2011
OSSIPEE — West Ossipee Fire Precinct commissioners announced at their meeting this past Monday, April 4, that Brad Eldridge had been removed as West Ossipee Fire Chief, effective March 29.

Eldridge had been put on "involuntary administrative leave with pay, pending further investigation," on March 7, and Deputy Chief Carl Huddleston was named Acting Chief at that time.

According to West Ossipee Fire Precinct Commission Chairman Paul Jay, the unanimous decision to remove Eldridge "for cause" was made on March 28 following a nonpublic meeting of all three commissioners with Eldridge. The decision itself was announced at the next commission meeting, held last Monday, April 4.

Jay stressed that the decision to remove Eldridge, who had put in more than 35 years on the job, "does not mean that there was any criminal activity at all." He said that the decision was "a direct result" of the meeting with Eldridge.

Contacted by phone, Eldridge refused a request to make a statement on the matter. "I will not make a statement," he said. "I do not trust the media."

Jay said the commissioners are currently reviewing the chief's job description with an eye toward "making it a better fit with the community." He added that he was not sure a full time chief was needed.

Huddleston will continue as acting chief of the department while the job description is being rewritten and potential candidates interviewed. Jay pointed out that Huddleston has a full time job with the N.H. State Police and would not be able to serve indefinitely in the acting chief position.

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