<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=915327909015523&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1" target="_blank"> Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.

Dalton Fire Chief James Peltier has been placed on administrative leave. He believes he faces termination

Dalton Fire Chief James Peltier stands next to a fire truck

Dalton Fire Chief James Peltier has been placed on administrative leave for more than a week, according to Jim Driscoll, chairman of the town’s Fire District.

DALTON — Fire Chief James Peltier has been placed on administrative leave, the Fire District confirmed Thursday.

Jim Driscoll, chairman of the town’s Fire District, confirmed that Peltier has been on leave for more than a week. Driscoll said he could not go into specifics on the nature of the administrative leave, but noted that the district will likely meet and have some resolution on the situation next week.

Peltier will have a chance to present to the Fire District’s commissioners during that time, Driscoll said. An executive session was held among the town's water commissioners Wednesday night, but Driscoll offered no comment as to what was discussed during that meeting.

When reached for comment, however, Peltier confirmed that he had been placed on leave and his understanding was that a vote was taken by the town's water commissioners in executive session to terminate him.

Peltier followed up by saying that he believed there would be a vote taken Monday by fire personnel to determine whether he will remain in his position as chief.

Peltier said that his administrative leave was "out of the blue." He has since been provided a list of potential concerns by the town's Fire District, enumerating potential reasons for his termination.

Included on the list, Peltier said, were specific incidents involving personnel and staff from surrounding agencies, including County Ambulance, and concerns about financial transactions. For instance, Peltier said he had been accused of potentially retaliating against someone.

However, Peltier said that some of the incidents, including the alleged retaliation, have not had dates attached to them and he wants more details on the accusations being made against him.

"I have a list, but there's no meat to it," Peltier said.

In Peltier’s absence, Assistant Fire Chief Chris Cachat has taken over day-to-day operations in the fire department.

Peltier came to the department in September 2021, replacing former Chief Gerald Cahalan Jr., who had served the 10 years previous. Peltier had been a full-time member of the Southborough Fire Department since 1999 prior to joining the department. He served as a lieutenant in that department for over a decade.

The news comes just a week after the town voted to approve the Fire District's warrant at its annual town meeting on May 9. Every article, including those approving the Fire District's nearly $3 million budget, passed. The chief was scheduled to earn $83,000 as per the new budget, and was allocated $77,520 in fiscal 2023.

Peltier spoke at the meeting about potential district finances, but confirmed he was on administrative leave when it was held.

Matt Martinez can be reached at mmartinez@berkshireeagle.com.

News Reporter

Matt Martinez is a news reporter at The Berkshire Eagle. He worked at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, graduated Marquette University. He is a former Report for America corps member.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.