Bob Bouley resigns from Fire District 2 Prudential Committee, special election date unchanged

Jun 22, 2023

A month before his recall election, Fire District 2 Prudential Committee member Bob Bouley resigned from his position.

The resignation was acknowledged by the committee at its June 22 meeting. Member John Sousa read the resignation aloud at the suggestion of member Ralph Medeiros. 

“I cannot in good faith continue to serve the residents who have elected me,” Bouley said in the letter, as read by Sousa. “At last Monday's meeting, you chose to reimburse the stipends which the previous committee had eliminated. In my mind, it was unnecessary and self-serving on your part.”

Bouley was referring to stipends for the deputy chief and fire inspector. In his letter, Bouley also said the stipends “were put in place by a previous Prudential Committee” that is “currently being investigated.” In April, Bouley and former committee member William Coutu had the district’s attorney send a letter asking the Inspector General alleging multiple improprieties by the previous committee members.

“There’s been nothing but contention this past year with all the lies and accusations spread by a few self-dealing individuals,” the letter continued. “I think it’s now time for me to move on.”

Resident and former Dartmouth firefighter Tally Garfield said she was “a little surprised” by the letter and that Bouley’s words were “kind of strong.”

The effort to recall Bouley started with a petition that received 236 signatures, and was presented on May 22. It faulted Bouley for removing Greg Edgcomb from his position as acting fire chief “without any process, and in violation of the Open Meeting Law and the District By-Laws” and for refusing to interview Edgcomb for the role of permanent fire chief.

Bouley declined to comment to Dartmouth Week. 

“The past year's been very tumultuous with [Bouley] and Billy Coutu and now we're moving in a new direction,” Medeiros said.

The Prudential Committee had previously scheduled a recall election for July 31, and according to the district’s bylaws, the special election can still occur in the event of a vacancy after the date is decided. However, the committee will look to adjust the language on the ballots to not include Bouley’s name and instead focus on filling the role. 

“The only question is how the ballot’s going to look,” Sousa said. 

As of now, the only candidate to file papers for the special election is Paul Abrantes, a resident of Fire District 2 and father of a firefighter. 

After hearing Bouley’s resignation letter, Abrantes said he “respect[s] him for what he was and his beliefs,” and he understands that Bouley “wanted to express his feelings.”

However, Abrantes said “there’s been issues with Bob Bouley from the beginning” of his tenure. 

Bouley’s mission to reduce taxes was “getting to the point that it was getting dangerous for firefighters and the community,” Abrantes said. 

If he’s elected, Abrantes said he is “looking forward to making the community feel safe.” He’s been attending Prudential Committee meetings since April 2022, which is how he got involved with the recall effort. He said he now also attends drill sessions at the fire station on Monday nights to learn more about the firefighters’ work. 

Other residents that want to be on the July 31 ballot will need to retrieve the necessary paperwork from the district by Monday, June 26 and file the papers by Wednesday, June 28.