Job references come into question for top fire chief candidate

Dec 13, 2022

Just days after Dartmouth Fire District 2’s Prudential Committee voted to begin contract negotiations with Dartmouth Police Sgt. Scott Brooks II for the position of fire chief, the candidate’s application has been called into question.

Brooks applied for the position shortly before the committee was due to conduct interviews, but distinguished himself with his extensive experience as a police officer and the apparent support of both of the other town fire chiefs, according to committee members Bob Bouley and Bill Coutu.

However, it was discovered after Brooks’s interview that Fire District 1 Chief Peter Andrade had not written a recommendation for Brooks, nor had he been approached to give a reference.

“I know Scott as a person, but I was never asked and I never gave him a recommendation,” Andrade said. “Would I recommend him? I’d have to think about it, but I was never asked.”

Brooks could not immediately be reached for comment on the matter.

According to Bouley, Brooks listed Andrade as a reference. After learning that Andrade had not supplied the district with a reference, Bouley said it was a matter that would not be taken lightly, especially as the backing of the other town chiefs was a significant factor in the committee’s choice to move forward with Brooks’s application.

“That definitely concerns me,” he said. “That’s what impressed me because District 1 is even more important than District 3 since it’s the closest station.”

Bouley added that he would need to follow up with Andrade before deciding how to proceed.

“I’ve gotta hear it from the horse’s mouth,” he said, “and I’ll definitely be talking to Andrade.”

Brooks did receive a letter of recommendation from District 1 Deputy Fire Chief Jake Bettencourt, according to the Prudential Committee members.

Contacted after the Brooks interview, District 3 Chief Richard Arruda said he did write a letter of recommendation on the basis of knowing Brooks as a police officer.

“I don’t know what his fire fighting knowledge is,” Arruda said. “I don’t know what the requirements are [for District 2 Fire Chief] but I know him professionally, so I wrote him a recommendation… He’s been working in public safety for his entire adult life.”

The Prudential Committee met again on Wednesday, Dec. 14 to negotiate with Brooks over the position. However, after a lengthy executive session, the committee announced that it had not reached a conclusion and would continue negotiations on Monday, Dec. 19.