- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The Providence Fire Department’s assistant fire chief is stepping down.

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare says Scott Mello, who has worked in the department since 1984, gave his retirement notice this week.

Mello’s decision to step down prompted criticism from the president of the city’s firefighter’s union, Paul Doughty, toward Mayor Jorge Elorza. Doughty says the focus of the fire department “has become the defense of his disastrous platoon change.”

The city and the union have been embroiled in a dispute over the administration’s decision to move from four platoons to three, which required firefighters to go from working an average of 42 hours per week to an average of 56 hours.

Elorza’s spokesman says Doughty’s criticism is a “gross mischaracterization of the state of the department.”

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