Fire chief accused of registering cars at work address


A town official is accused of using his workplace address for tax purposes.

The state Ethics Commission is checking into Lime Rock Fire Chief Frank Sylvester’s practice of paying vehicle taxes in Lincoln, where he works, instead of Pawtucket, where he lives.

The city of Pawtucket picks up trash at Sylvester’s house, and even though the owner has three registered cars, the city gets no car taxes from him to help pay for services because he lists the Lime Rock fire station in Lincoln — where he’s chief — as his residence.

NBC 10 News was unable to contact Sylvester on Tuesday, but he’s well known following his brief stint as state fire marshal in 2007. He’s been chief in Lime Rock in Lincoln for more than 20 years, and he worked more than 20 years in Pawtucket’s fire department before that.

But Sylvester still lives in Pawtucket — probably comfortably with salary and benefits reported at more than $140,000. Nonetheless, he registers his cars in Lincoln.

The car tax in Lincoln is quite a bit lower than in Pawtucket, and he saves an estimated $2,300 a year with the out-of-town registration.

The state police were asked to look into the matter more than a year ago.

The state Ethics Commission, based on a complaint by a Lincoln resident, determined Tuesday that there would be a violation if it’s true his cars are registered in Lincoln, though he lives in Pawtucket. Commission members believe it would be a use of his public office for private gain.

In Pawtucket, where every tax dollar is needed, Mayor Don Grebien’s administration said it would wait for the state police’s decision.

“The city will await the outcome of the state police investigation into the vehicle taxes matter … before deciding if and how the city will proceed,” said Doug Hadden, a spokesman for Grebien.

The state police said Tuesday that the investigation is complete, but they couldn’t say what it had determined. 

Leave a Reply