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Dennis Tucker, who has worked for the city’s fire department since 1988, was terminated last week after a three-member city trial board unanimously voted to approve the recommendation made by Pare.
“He was absolutely adamant that it wasn’t his responsibility to manage his firefighters that may or may not have been taking excess sick time,” Pare told WPRI.com.
Pare said Tucker was suspended several months ago after the commissioner asked him to discipline a group of firefighters the city believed was abusing the fire department sick-time policy. Tucker refused, arguing that it was the chief’s job to take disciplinary action, Pare said. (The fire department has been without a chief since July, but as public safety commissioner, Pare has similar powers.)
A 27-year veteran in the department, Tucker was slated to earn a base salary of $74,673 in the current fiscal year. Pare said the city will also try to block Tucker from earning his pension, arguing that he didn’t “serve the city honorably.”
Paul Doughty, president of Local 799 of the International Association of Firefighters, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Tucker also did not immediate respond to a request for comment.
Fire department policy requires a three-member trial board that consists of the city’s Probate Court judge, human resources director and the commissioner of public safety to consider employee termination cases. Pare said he recused himself from Tucker’s case and appointed the fire department’s chief of operations to sit on the trial board.
Although Tucker’s “inability to lead as a captain in the fire department” was the primary reason for his termination, Pare acknowledged that Tucker did send an “inappropriate and unprofessional” email to the commissioner that was widely circulated.
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What a crock. :(