Massachusetts Firefighters Reinstated

Three of four Massachusetts firefighters who were dismissed last June under questionable circumstances, and who filed suit to get their positions back, have been reinstated following a hearing officer’s decision.

Clarence Jefferson, Stephen Tervo, Benjamin Miele and James Horan claim the town of Groton wrongful terminated them from their positions as firefighters, violated their civil rights, defamed them and caused them emotional distress.

The four were reportedly involved in trying to form a union prompting the town to begin harassing and ultimately not “reappoint” them. Prior to this the town had never annually reappointed firefighters.

Following the filing of the lawsuit, the town agreed to schedule a hearing before an independent hearing officer, John J. Clifford, who ruled that the town failed to present a sufficient basis to terminate the firefighters. The town has agreed to accept the hearing officer’s decision.

The decision is only binding on Jefferson, Tervo, and Miele, but not Horan because he reportedly resigned. It will have little impact on the litigation beyond mitigating some of the damages the plaintiffs may otherwise be entitled to.

Here is more on the story.

Here is info on the pending suit.

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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