New London - Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said in an emailed statement this afternoon that he supports state Rep. Ernest Hewett's call for an investigation into the state fire academy.
Finizio's announcement comes one day after an NAACP town hall meeting that featured multiple firefighters or recruits who recounted difficult experiences at the academy, including perceived racism. One of those men, Alfred Mayo, was fired by Finizio just days before he was scheduled to graduate with his class. After graduation, Mayo was to become the first black firefighter hired by the New London Fire Department since 1978.
"When local municipalities make decisions on the retention of fire department recruits, we must rely on information provided to us by the Fire Academy," Finizio said. "In the decision reached by the administration not to retain recruit Alfred Mayo, the City of New London relie(d) heavily on data provided by the Fire Academy. At last night's NAACP forum, I was disturbed to hear numerous former Academy recruits explain irregularities at the Academy."
Hewett, speaking to a crowded room at the Second Congregation Church Tuesday night, said Mayo should not have been fired and that one of his offenses at the academy was being too "enthusiastic." Hewett then called for an investigation into the academy.