EAST GREENWICH — It’s been a situation that has been building and building over the last few years within the East Greenwich Fire Department and members of the East Greenwich Firefighters Union Local 3328 finally took a stance in hoping that will result in dramatic change within the department’s hierarchy.
In a phone interview Monday afternoon, Local 3328 President William Perry said the union voted no confidence in EGFD Chief Peter F. Henrikson earlier this month in virtually unanimous fashion.
Back on July 9 at the union meeting, 28 members of Local 3328 – including Perry – who were in attendance, members such as the fire marshal and an array of captains and lieutenants, casted their votes of no confidence in Henrikson, citing that the chief, according to Perry, has shown the firefighters within the Fire Department a significant lack of respect, a lack of management skills and a lack of professionalism.
Perry then said he reached out to the other eight members of Local 3328 who couldn’t make it to the July 9 meeting so their votes could be counted. In all, 37 total votes were made and 36 feel that Henrikson isn’t fit to be chief of the EGFD.
“This is just us making a stance against the fire chief to let the Town Council and the town manager know how we feel about the chief,” Perry said. “Obviously, if you take out the one person, it was 100 percent unanimous. I think it sends a strong message that we’re looking for change and we’re hoping some change could come out of it.”
The lone vote of confidence that was casted, Perry said, was from EGFD Chief Clerk Kristen Henrikson – who is also the chief’s wife.
Perry recalled numerous instances that became deciding factors in Local 3328’s now formal displeasure with the fire chief. Perry said that Henrikson, who is currently out on sick leave, never gave any of the firefighters any notification that he was going to be away from the department. There was one situation, Perry stated, where Deputy Chief Russell McGillivray was out on vacation and the department was trying to get a hold of Henrikson regarding “important situations” and Henrikson “never returned phone calls or messages.”
Perry then said that the only way he found out that Henrikson was on sick leave was in a conversation with then Town Manager William Sequino, Jr.
For the rest of this story and more local news, pick up the July 25 issue of the East Greenwich Pendulum.