Firefighter Fired For Misconduct
By: Alex Scofield
Town Manager Thomas M. Guerino fired firefighter Richard J. Doherty yesterday for what Mr. Guerino called “a series of repeated violations of the rules and regulations” of the Bourne Fire Department. Mr. Doherty faced disciplinary hearings in October pertaining to a series of his Facebook postings commenting on superior officers in the Bourne Fire Department, officers in the Bourne Police Department, and the Town of Bourne.
“It is manifestly clear that Firefighter Doherty cannot function as a Firefighter and Paramedic in the Town of Bourne,” Mr. Guerino wrote in his decision. “It is equally clear that there is just cause for punishment. The only appropriate punishment is Firefighter Doherty’s separation from employment.”
Mr. Guerino’s decision was to fire Mr. Doherty, effective immediately.
A call to Mr. Doherty’s attorney, Terrence E. Coles, was not immediately returned this morning.
In his decision, Mr. Guerino consistently agreed with the findings of Hyannis-based attorney Charles M. Sabatt, the hearing officer who presided over Mr. Doherty’s disciplinary hearings. Mr. Sabatt and Mr. Guerino both concluded that Mr. Doherty’s Facebook postings included slurs offensive to the homosexual community, disparaging to Bourne police officers, and insubordinate to Mr. Doherty’s superior officers in the fire department.
“These types of communications by an employee within any private enterprise would warrant discipline, but the generation of these comments in the setting of a quasi-military type organization that has a heightened duty to protect the life and safety of the people of the Town of Bourne is a more serious threat to orderly professional relationships,” Mr. Guerino said in his decision, regarding some of Mr. Doherty’s Facebook postings regarding fellow firefighters and superior officers in the department.
In addition to the charges Mr. Doherty faced in his disciplinary hearings, Mr. Guerino also said Mr. Doherty’s conduct during the hearings was another factor in his decision. In this regard, Mr. Guerino upped the ante on Mr. Sabatt’s findings that Mr. Doherty was not “credible” and was “continually evasive” and “sarcastic” during hearings.
“[M]y review of Firefighter Doherty’s conduct at the Hearing shows a pervasive pattern of perjury, disrespect for authority, and sworn testimony that was contrived and contemptuous,” Mr. Guerino said in his decision.
As an example, Mr. Guerino referred to Mr. Doherty’s claim during the hearings that an apparent anti-homosexual slur was actually a reference to a Vlasic pickle commercial. Mr. Guerino also said that Mr. Doherty’s claim that he was unaware of the fire department’s rules and regulations “was patently false.”
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