Mass Civil Service Commission Renders a Split Decision in Boston Discipline Case

The Massachusetts Civil Service Commission has upheld in part, and reversed in part, discipline of a Boston firefighter on charges of insubordination, unbecoming behavior, and being absent without leave.

The facts are extremely complicated and lengthy – too lengthy for a review here. My advice – those responsible for firefighter discipline, managing firefighter attendance/sick leave, and/or light/modified duty policies, ought to take the time to read the 95 numbered paragraphs in the fact finding, and twenty-five or so paragraphs of analysis.

For those not so inclined to read the entire 33 pages, the case involved Firefighter Casley Bailey, who was suspended for sixteen tours (eight 24-hour work shifts) on May 5, 2021, and eight tours (four 24-hour work shifts) on June 15, 2021, for a total of twenty-four tours. Bailey suffered from a series of Achilles/ankle injuries between September and December, 2020. He resisted the city’s efforts to place him on modified duty, but in the end succeeded in having the Civil Service Commission reduce his punishment because he:

  • [R]eceived conflicting information from his superior officers about how to attend non-injury-related medical appointments and was constantly asked to provide more medical documentation before his concerns would be entertained.
  • The Appellant was justifiably confused about whether he had proper leave on the days of his alleged AWOLs.
  • Thus, I find the sixteen-tour suspension to be excessive for the limited misconduct that has been supported by just cause.

Here is a copy of the decision.

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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