Another Pascoag fire commissioner faces ethics complaint

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BURRILLVILLE – The Rhode Island Ethics Commission has agreed to investigate a complaint against a member of the board governing the Pascoag Fire District, adding yet another charge to the list of legal issues leaders in the small district are facing.

The complaint, filed in November against Commissioner Brian Mathieu, points to payments made to his employer, Burrillville Motor Sales.

According to the communication, submitted by Gregory McCutcheon, Mathieu failed to recuse himself on votes to pay the company for towing and repair services on 16 occasions over the past three years.  Meeting minutes show the commissioner voting to approve more than $11,000 in payments to the company, doing business as Larry’s Towing, since 2015.

Mathieu is the second commissioner, and third district leader, to face charges before the ethics board over the past year.

Commissioner Linda Carter has complaints from two different residents pending before the board. The most recent, submitted in October by Stephanie Sloman, notes that Carter recently voted to appoint her personal attorney Albin Moser of Providence, to represent the district itself at the board’s Sept. 17 meeting.

The second, submitted earlier this year by Gregory McCutcheon, alleges that she approved payments from the district to herself and her family members several times, rather than recusing herself from the votes.

McCutcheon is the husband of former district tax collector Laurie McCutcheon, who was suspended from the job last January after 17 years of service.

Complaints of nepotism against Chief Harold Carter, submitted by the tax collector herself, were dismissed in August with the state board finding no probable cause.

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, the ethics board voted to investigate the complaint against Mathieu.

The ethics complaints are among several issues the district has been facing since McCutcheon’s suspension. The former district employee filed three allegations of Open Meetings violations by the commission this year, two of which were found to be valid.

Moser, who has represented the chief and commissioners before the ethic’s board, resigned from his job as attorney for the district earlier this month after the fire commission did not take his advice against offering collector McCutcheon a due process hearing.

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