NORTH SMITHFIELD – A North Smithfield resident and lieutenant for the Woonsocket Fire Department, who has been active in several local political campaigns, has been suspended over explicit text messages he reportedly sent to female co-workers.
Jeffrey Burlingame was the official campaign manager for Rep. Stephen Casey when he first won his seat representing Woonsocket District 50 in 2012.
He has also been a vocal proponent of several political campaigns in 2020, including Councilor Douglas Osier’s bid for the North Smithfield town administrator role.
Reached this week, Osier said the city firefighter had no active involvement in his campaign.
“He offered suggestions from time to time,” said Osier. “He offered advice. It doesn’t mean I’ll take it. Really, the campaign is my wife and I.”
In a communication shared with NRI NOW, Burlingame identified himself as a “volunteer advisor,” for Osier, noting that Checkmate Consulting had designed campaign materials.
According to reports, two female employees in Woonsocket lodged complaints against the lieutenant, a 23-year veteran of the department. An investigation was launched internally before Burlingame was terminated this week.
Burlingame was officially separated from the department on Wednesday, Oct. 14.
A 46-year-old hired by Woonsocket Fire Department in 1996, Burlingame also has a history of political involvement. A well-known Democrat, Burlingame ran for a seat on the District 24 Senatorial District Committee in 2018.
Reached by NRI NOW this week, Burlingame said he did not wish to comment on the allegations, or the investigation that followed.
Both Burlingame and Casey contributed to Osier’s campaign this year, with Casey donating $500 in August and another $500 in September, and Burlingame donating $200 in July.
He has often promoted the candidate on social media and signed the affidavit on his nomination papers – an indication that Burlingame obtained the required signatures on Osier’s behalf.
Reacting to the news Osier said, “It’s shocking. Obviously. I don’t condone anything like that. He’s just a supporter.”
Burlingame has reportedly stated that he plans to challenge the decision through the union process.
Editor’s note: The above article has been updated since it was originally published on Thursday, Oct. 15.