GROTON — Town officials on Monday read from a press release on a recently investigated incident involving a call firefighter complaining about treatment from his superiors.
“(An) investigation concluded that the allegations advanced by the complainant were not substantiated,” stated the press release. “The board and (town manager Mark) Haddad are satisfied that the investigation was thorough and the town considers the investigation closed.”
In a separate, heavily redacted release, the findings of independent reviewer Corinne Greene, of the Charlestown-based employment law firm Greene & Hafer, were listed.
Greene’s conclusion was that the original complaint “alleging retaliation and/or harassment is unsubstantiated.”
According to Greene’s report, in 2013, the complainant learned that the department intended to fill an EMS lieutenancy with someone other than himself. At the same time, he suspected he was being paid less than another employee with less experience in the same position.
After a meeting to discuss the issue and in which a suggestion by the complainant to change the Fire Department’s pay structure was rejected, the complainant said he believed the department’s administration considered him a “negative” influence and unfairly targeted him.
At a meeting in December, comments on social-media outlets were brought up by the administration, which ordered it to desist, with all complaints brought through the chain of command. At the time, the complainant suspected he was the object of criticism by the administration.
Greene said she found “credible” the claim the administration had “taken action to address allegations relating to (the complainant’s) negative attitude” but found that it did not “give rise to retaliation or harassment claims under the law or pursuant to the town’s policies.”
Although selectmen in the press release identified the complainant as “a member of the Groton Fire Department,” they refused to say who the person was.
Selectmen and Haddad also declined to identify the administrators in the complaint.
When asked if the complaint was between call firefighters and paid firefighters, board Chairman Peter Cunningham said that was not his belief.
“I’m not concerned beyond that,” said Cunningham.
“The allegations were not substantiated,” said board member Anna Eliot.