After many comments, news reports and conversations, the Dan Nolan termination picture is starting to become clearer, but the motivation and reasons for his firing are still very unclear.
Rather than try to figure out the entire picture, I hope the attached documents will make the situation easier to understand, and you make your own decisions.
On March 18, 2008, Lee Erdmann, Chief Operating Officer for the City of Hartford sent a hand written memo to Human Resources Director Santiago Malave and Hartford Fire Chief Charles Teale, the subject of which was "re: Fire Complaint" and they were requested by Erdmann to "please jointly investigate attached complaint and report results to me" also noted on the memo in handwriting that appears to be other than Erdmann's it states "possible charges- lying, abuse of power, excessive mileage, creating artificial ___________". The second handwriting has not been identified at this point. Attached to Erdmann's note is a typed document that details "a complaint from wife of Fire Applicant-Did not want to release her name". These documents are attached below.
Nolan Erdmann Memo
Subsequent to Erdmann's March 18, 2008 memo, a letter was drafted by Vincent Fusco, President of the Hartford Firefighters Union, local 760 of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) on April 7, 2008. Fusco's letter to Assistant Chief Michael Parker of the Hartford Fire Department reports that "a serious allegation" has been made against Chief Nolan. Fusco doesn't mention who made the complaint, how he received it or if he attempted to verify any of the information. He does state though that "these are serious allegations that must be looked into and investigated immediately"
Fusco's letter can be viewed below:
Nolan Union Complaint
Apparently after the Union President, Vincent Fusco requested the investigation into the "serious allegations" against Nolan, on May 7, 2008 he did a 180 degree turn and sent a letter to Human Resources Director Santiago Malave expressing his concern that Nolan "is being disadvantaged monetarily by being denied the opportunity to perform overtime and his continued status on paid leave continues to potentially adversely affect his reputation". That letter he copied to Dan Nolan, unlike the first one accusing Nolan of "serious allegations".
Nolan Fusco Letter 2
Some might question the motives of Fusco in reporting the vague allegations directly to Chief Parker without speaking to Nolan first, none the less, an "Internal Investigation" was begun by Assistant Chief Parker. After Erdmann's memo of 3/18/08 and Fusco's complaint letter of 4/7/08, a "preliminary" investigation was completed. On April 18, 2008, Chief Teale wrote to Santiago Malave, Director of Human Resources, asking to meet with Malave for "review and consultation to determine what must be accomplished regarding this matter". Teale's choice of words "what must be accomplished" seems somewhat unusal, and raises the question as to what the initial goal of the "investigation was. Although the initial "preliminary report" is four pages long, it seems to be very short on specific charges, but speaks about "the 3 anonymous alleged allegations". The report continues to layout the "anonymous alleged allegations, yet does not provide any solid facts or statements from individuals willing to state on the record wrongdoing on Nolan's part. The first "anonymous alleged allegation was that Chief Nolan "is giving out questions to the oral interview before the applicants meet with Chief Teale" in return for a donation to Chief Nolan's Charities. Nolan admitted to Chief Parker to speaking to approximately 10 applicants. The questions reported to be "leaked" are detailed in page 2 of Erdmann's memo above. The questions appear to be very generic in nature, and I would hope that any applicant could answer the questions and not need to be prepped beforehand. Also, since it appears that Teale did not circulate the questions specifically being asked for the interviews, it would be supposition on anyones part as to the questions, other than relying on past history of the type of general questions asked over the years. The final line of "anonymous alleged allegation" one was that Deputy Chief Nolan is involved in many charities ; Cystic Fibrosis, Leukemia, Miami Project, Cherish the Children...
Nolan should be fired just for taking this much interest in charities, how dare he exhibit such behavior.
The second "anonymous alleged allegation" was that Chief Nolan violated the Hartford Fire Departments Vehicle usage policy. This "anonymous alleged allegation" apparently developed through an inquiry brought forth by Assistant Chief of Operations Milner. Milner claims that in February of 2008 he looked at the mileage in Nolan's city vehicle and while doing that he saw a "connected GPS unit" in the vehicle and he "assumed belonged to the Dept" As Milner was "poking around the unit I pulled up the history and noticed travels to the State of Rhode Island and LaGuadia Airport in New York. Milner further states that after discussing the mileage on the vehicle compared to others assigned to HFD personnel that "the mileage difference alarmed me". Milner was so alarmed that he waited until July 10, 2008 to put the "facts" he claimed in writing.
Milner's memo is below, dated 7/10/08
Nolan Milner Memo
The third "anonymous alleged allegation" in the report was that Nolan "solicited the recruits to donate to a charity that he is involved in" in exchange for a reduction in the recruits "towers". "Towers" are a form of punishment, similar to military recruits or police recruits performing sit-ups, push-ups or extra laps around a running track. Towers require that recruits run a certain number of times up and down the flights of stairs in the training "tower" at the fire academy. This exercise is very similar for the recruits as to what they would face in normal fire situation, carrying equipment or victims up and down in a highrise building, less the smoke and fire. In most cases the "towers" were assigned to the entire recruit class. In Nolan's "Laudermill Hearing", a legal title for the hearing held to result in Nolan's termination, the following exchange took place between Nolan and Teale:
Teale: "There is no standard related to how fast a person should run during fire recruit training. Why did you give towers as punishment for those who you thought ran too slow?
Nolan: "As I said, teamwork, motivation, there are weak links in the chain. In order for that chainto be effective, all the links must be present and pull together simultaneously. To me, a lot of people were not giving effort. It was walking time instead of running time and it impacted the whole class"
What was Nolan thinking? Teamwork, motivation, giving your full effort? How could any of that possibly relate to firefighters in a burning building needing to count on the person behind you for your life?
Pages 3 and 4 of the report essentially quote almost sixty "anonymous" statements making accusations without any names or written statements attached. Affidavits were taken from recruits attending the Hartford Fire Academy at the time in question, although the time line on the affidavits is also questionable because they were taken by Ivan Ramos of the Corporation Counsels Office in late September, almost six months after Teale claims the preliminary investigation was completed. Since no other reports were provided through my FOI request asking for "all reports", there are two possible scenarios. One is that the City was attempting to cover their tracks after Nolan refused John Rose's offer,through the Hartford Firefighters Union and Fusco, to go away quietly and they wouldn't touch his banked sick and vacation time or another report exists and the city is not releasing it. That would be a violation of the Freedom of Information Act since the City claims it released all the documents to me, and we know the City and Mr. Rose wouldn't do that.
The affidavits solicited from the recruits all appear to be almost identical, and apparently not in the recruits own words. They almost appear as "form" affidavits that they were all asked to sign, rather than pay for copies of all the affidavits from the City, I randomly picked a couple to have copied. They are attached below, you can make your own decision as to their validity. Surprisingly though, nowhere in any of the affidavits that I read was it ever mentioned that ANY recruit felt threatened by Nolan's requests to participate in charity events or assist in charity fundraising. Not one statement was made that ANY recruit felt as though adverse action would be taken if they did not participate, that they might be terminated, punished or in any way harmed by Nolan if they said no to his requests. In fact on recruit went so far as to on his own solicit gift certificates from a couple of Hartford restaurants as raffle prizes and one recruit who chose not to donate money, donated a gift certificate of his own for "Salsa" lesson instructions that he would provide.
Nolan Recruit Affidavit Sample
The entire "preliminary investigation" and Teale's memo to Santiago Malave is below
Nolan Teale Parker Investigation
On April 21, 2008, Deputy Chief Nolan was placed on "administrative leave" by Chief Teale. That letter is attached below:
Nolan Admin Leave Letter
More to come as I continue to try and follow the paper trail leading to Nolan's termination. Also, I will provide more information and try to connect the dots as relatives try to protect relatives forced out of the Fire Academy, only to be re-hired after Nolan's removal. The issue of the pregnant recruit and her HFD connections and how she was protected,and another recruit that shares the same name with a high ranking HFD official snared in a scandal of his own and accused of perjury and how she survived the academy after Nolan threatened to remove her.Read what a Superior Court Judge had to say about this HFD official on the record. More interesting history will be spelled out here as I attempt to get to the real reason behind this termination. If you have more that you think is important, please free to e-mail me.