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Guest MINDSETTER™ Tom Kenney: Pare’s Abuse of Power

Thursday, June 02, 2016


They say that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Well, I never really gave that much thought until recently but I reckon there’s a lot of truth it that old adage.

Case in point – Commissioner of Public Safety in Providence, Steven Pare. He was the highest ranking officer in the state’s premier law enforcement agency for a number of years and reportedly ran the department with an iron fist. His way or the highway! After a while I guess some people begin to believe that they are the law – and that they are above the written law.

Pare as Commissioner

Since becoming the Commissioner in Providence he has phased out the Chief of Department position in order to keep strict control over the department with no interference.  You see, most people with absolute power are also very paranoid of others who may challenge their authority. Having a COD foe the PFD could lead to the Mayor to consult or the media to inquire about the department to the Chief. There has not been a true Chief of Department in over a year since Clarence Cunha left early due to too much interference from the Commissioner. Under Pare’s watch the previous COD, George Farrell, was unceremoniously dumped, along with his entire Command Staff, by Pare. Yeah, that George Farrell. The same one that the Mayor brought back as a “consultant”. It just goes to show that political animals never die – they just lay dormant and wait for the dealer to reshuffle!

Since the restructuring of the Providence Fire Department last August the Providence Firefighter’s Union has asserted that Pare has ignored and broken the US Family Medical Leave Act at will. They say he completely disregards this federal law on a day to day basis. I certainly believe them. I know, personally, that he has ignored and broken the US HIPA laws by giving copies of my injury reports to a reporter from the Providence Journal. This was a blatant violation of the laws in place to protect us from our over-zealous enemies or government.

Mr. Pare also violated the RI Public Records law by refusing to hand over all of his texts and e-mails to the Providence Journal upon my documented request. He turned over a single e-mail that had an early draft of the op-ed piece he wrote about me last December for the Providence Journal. There were over 9 different changes to the version that was finally printed. This means that there were additional correspondences between him and Projo. One of the changes was so significant that it could not have been changed by anyone other than the original author – Pare.

This blatant disregard of any law that doesn’t correspond with his priorities along with his narcissistic and paranoid need for control and power scare me, especially since he knows nothing about running a fire department.

In his vicious op-ed piece against me last December he stated unequivocally that “Kenney and others have suggested that we need to hire 100 or more firefighters and…not only is this unnecessary, it would increase the cost of fire prevention service." A short month or so later Commissioner Pare approved and endorsed a federal SAFER Grant requesting the federal government give Providence the money to hire 80 new firefighters because present level of staffing is inadequate, forcing firefighters to work 60-80 hours per week and creating an unsafe environment, putting the firefighters and the general public in danger.

Which is it Commissioner?

His answer, even under the penalty of fraud charges for lying (as in the SAFER Grant), always depends on what message he wants to put out there. To the general public, after my criticism, is that we have plenty of firefighters. To the federal government, who could pick up the bill of hiring new firefighters, is that we’re in desperate need of additional personnel. This is exactly what scares me about him. This is why it’s difficult to debate him on the issues at hand.

People who think they’re above the letter of the law are only watching out for themselves. We need a person in charge of Public Safety in Providence who has knowledge, experience and integrity!


Related Slideshow: Providence Firefighter Tweets

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Paul Doughty responds to a post by Elorza on another subject, to steer the fight back to the firefighters.

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A photo meme that was orginated by firefighters in social media, before being used on signs during a recent firefighter rally at City Hall.

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The fighfighters take to Twitter to convey their positions on a number of issues. 

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Local 799's Derek Silva tweets a cartoon "fantasty" Tweet with Elorza. 

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Elorza's post recognizing fire chief Cunha's service gets minimal interaction.

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On May 21, when Elorza announced the platoon shift, he tweeted instead about a volunteer event he attended -- and not of the firefighter decision.

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Other press coverage of Elorza is often commented on by Doughty on Twitter.

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Doughty uses Twitter to show the contrast of a prior Elorza statement, versus his current position. 

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A pro-union tweet garners significant Twitter interaction.

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Doughty takes to social media to tell firefighter supporters than any threats against the Mayor would not be tolerated.

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Doughty often comments on other actions by Mayor Elorza in an effort to bolster the firefighters' position.

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Doughty takes immediate social action after the Mayor weighs on about the recent court decision. 

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Media coverage on the fight is often retweeted by Doughty -- something which Elorza does not do with firefighters. 

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A pro-union post retweeted by Doughty; the firefighters often engage other unions' support.


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