Verona assistant fire chief resigns, criticizes city in letter

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VERONA, Wis. (WMTV) - The assistant fire chief for the Verona Fire Department turned in his letter of resignation to the city Monday.

In the letter, assistant chief Don Catenacci cited that the mayor and city council have shown almost no support for him, fire chief Joseph Givers or the firefighters after an investigation by the Riseling Group said in part that the department has accepted a lack of professionalism and discipline.

NBC15 has learned that the information in the report has sparked new investigations into alleged misconduct by both Catenacci and fire chief Givers.

The city requested an investigation into the fire department after members raised concerns about chief Givers and assistant chief Catenacci. City administrators met with Givers and agreed on several steps to improve the department.

City Administrator Jeff Mikorski said to NBC15 Friday that while he cannot comment on ongoing investigations, he could say that Verona has the Oregon Police Department investigating three allegations against Catenacci.

"We support him, by doing a thorough investigation into the accusations," Mikorski said of assistant fire chief Catenacci.

Still, Catenacci's letter said no one from the city attempted to contact him to discuss the situation.

The firefighters union, Fire Fighters Local 311, also conducted its own investigation and has been critical.

Ted Higgins of Firefighters Local 311 said he's glad Catenacci is moving on.

"Don [Catenacci] did have a chance to answer for every single allegation, that was to the consultants and the police. He's had every chance to tell his side of the story and he's the one who resigned even before the police report was released," Higgins said.

"The next step is the fire chief himself - chief Giver who allowed, knew this was happened and did nothing about it," Higgins added.

The union called for the immediate resignations of chief Giver and assistant chief Catenacci.

The city administration said they established an implementation plan on Oct. 11.