Lawsuit Accuses Louisiana Fire District of Whistleblower Retaliation

A former administrator from St. Tammany Parish Fire District 12 has filed suit claiming he was forced to resign in 2015 in retaliation for his whistleblowing.

Ray Newton served as a financial manager for the district. When he resigned in 2015, he claimed his efforts to get to the bottom of the district’s financial woes were “continuously thwarted by staff secrecy and lack of cooperation.” He had worked for the district for 21 years.

In his lawsuit he claims he reported the problems he was seeing to the Parish Council on October 1, 2015, and was retaliated against thereafter.  According to WDSU News, the lawsuit alleges:

  • “a culture of cover-ups of inappropriate sexual behavior between FD 12 employees, together with other inappropriate relationships between board members and others.”
  • “there existed a culture of cover-ups of improper expenditure of public funds by various fireman, and of payroll fraud of firemen.”

A copy of the complaint is not available but will be posted here if we can obtain it. More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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