From Princeton, Massachusetts:
Board accepts Cobb’s resignation
BY PHYLLIS BOOTH
PRINCETON — David Cobb, who is facing charges of taking drugs from the town ambulance, has resigned as fire chief and emergency management director, effective Nov. 19.
The Board of Selectmen accepted the resignation and will now focus on finding a new chief to fill the position, according to a statement issued Nov. 27. Deputy Chief John Bennett has been serving as interim chief.
A separation agreement between the town and Cobb has been signed. Details were not immediately available.
Selectmen thanked residents for their patience and also thanked the members of the fire department for their part in providing emergency response services to the town.
In July, selectmen placed Cobb on paid administrative leave pending an investigation due to communications the town had received from undisclosed agencies.
On, Nov. 5, selectmen placed Cobb on unpaid administrative leave.
Cobb, 45, who lives on Cutler Road in Jefferson, was Princeton’s first full-time fire chief. He was hired in January.
On Oct. 15, Cobb was arraigned in Worcester District Court and charged with larceny of a drug and obtaining a drug by fraud. He was released on personal recognizance with a pretrial hearing scheduled for Dec. 3.
Early in November, Cobb was arraigned in Gardner District Court and charged with larceny of a drug and obtaining a drug by fraud. His pretrial hearing in Gardner is scheduled for Dec. 11.
An investigation started after personnel from St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester and Heywood Hospital in Gardner expressed concern that an excessive amount of narcotics was being dispensed to the Princeton Fire Department, according to court documents.
An audit by the State Police/DEA Diversion Investigation Unit and Princeton Fire Department members of the controlled substances from the med boxes on the ambulances found that 8100 mcg of Fentanyl, a Class B controlled substance, 1068 mg of morphine, a Class B controlled substance, 130 mg of Diazepam (Valium), a Class C controlled substance, and 20 mg of Midazolam (Versed), a Class E controlled substance, were unaccounted for.
Cobb was the primary keeper of the narcotics log books and was responsible for replenishing new stock, according to court documents. Cobb’s signature appeared on the narcotics dispensing sheets and matched his signature on Registry of Motor Vehicles documents, investigators found.
Six pharmacy employees were shown Cobb’s photo and three recognized him, according to court documents. Investigators also reported that narcotic journals from ambulance A1 and A2 contained “questionable log notes.”
The resignation comes less than a year after selectmen unanimously agreed in December 2011 to authorize Town Administrator John Lebeaux to enter into contract negotiations with Cobb for the position of Princeton’s first, full-time fire chief.
Cobb has had 18 years in the fire service, 12 of them full-time. He had been a full-time firefighter/paramedic for the Holden Fire Department for three years and also served on the Princeton Fire Department as part-time lieutenant/ paramedic, company officer and training officer.
Cobb has been a paramedic for 10 years and is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, where he was a firefighter/ engineer, serving four years active duty and is in the Coast Guard Reserves
Sandy Quadros Bowles contributed to this report.
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