Tyngsboro Media Director fired following public hearing

Tyngsboro Media Director Steve Brogan, left, hugs a member of the public Wednesday night after a public disciplinary hearing lead to him being fired from the town.

TYNGSBORO — The Board of Selectmen fired Town Media Director Steve Brogan Wednesday night during a public disciplinary hearing at a crowded Town Hall community room.

The termination comes after a months-long disagreement between Brogan and Town Administrator Matt Hanson on how to properly do Brogan’s media job and increasing disciplinary actions Hanson has taken toward Brogan during the previous four months.

The board, which received an 80-page document from Hanson regarding Brogan’s previous insubordination, unanimously agreed to terminate Brogan’s employment with the town following a hour and 45-minute disciplinary meeting that saw both Hanson and Brogan talk about on-air and online comments Brogan had made, as well as internal disputes Brogan has had with Hanson and Human Resources Coordinator Brigette Bell.

“I guess I just didn’t dance well enough for them,” Brogan told The Sun, putting his camo, American flag hat over his eyes and looking toward the ground. “I’m still taking it all in.”

“We’re sorry, Steve,” Selectman Ron Keohane told Brogan, as some members of the public lined up to hug the media director.

Brogan has worked with the town since 2016 and is expected to be terminated from the town’s payroll at a later date. Brogan’s position includes monitoring the town’s Facebook page; providing town newsletters and hosting town officials in weekly television productions.

An official day Brogan will be terminated from his role was not made.

“He’s damaged his relationship with both management as well as his peers and his actions have served as a distraction,” Hanson said in a statement. Hanson added that Brogan brought a “hostile” work environment to the town.

During previous months, Hanson said he had also disciplined Brogan for comments he had made during Tyngsboro television shoots and online on the town’s Facebook page.

One comment included Brogan saying that the town’s PEG (multimedia) Center was “out in left field” while talking with Selectman Rick Reault on-air, Reault said. Another was Brogan commenting on the town’s Facebook page that he could not get in contact with Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Hillari Wennerstrom after a meeting notice was made earlier this year, Hanson said.

Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, Brogan served a two-day suspension for “insulting and making a misleading comment toward a town official” and received multiple verbal and written warnings for his work ethic and behavior, Hanson said.

Hanson added that Brogan should be “unbiased” in his newscasts and reports.

“The working relationship is fractured,” Hanson said.

The hearing, which normally would be held in executive session, was made open to the public by Brogan and the board so he could make his case to remain employed with the town in front of a packed Town Hall community room.

Reault, Wennerstrom and Keohane said Brogan was “likable” and an “asset” to the town but continuous disregard of Hanson’s “guidance” and authority was not acceptable. The five board members eventually agreed with Hanson and Bell’s recommendation: termination.

“I don’t want to see you go but you have to say you can take a direction,” Reault said.

“I do like working here. I don’t have a problem working or taking a direction from (Hanson),” responded Brogan, who argued that his job description was “vague” and felt that he was “under attack” during previous months.

“I’m willing to work with Mr. Hanson if he is willing to work with me in a fair way,” he added.

Luke O’Roark on Twitter: @LukeORoark