Thursday, June 20, 2013
By KEITH EDWARDS Kennebec Journal
RICHMOND – The town is investigating a firefighter's claim that he was harassed after reporting that his boots were full of water when he arrived at the station on a call.
Town Manager Marian Anderson, in a letter sent to every member of the Richmond Fire Department, said the incident happened at the Myrtle Street fire station Aug. 3. She said in the letter, dated Aug. 9, that the town is conducting a formal investigation that will result in disciplinary action and could include legal prosecution.
The town "is committed to providing a work environment that ensures that every employee is treated with dignity and respect," she wrote. "Workplace harassment is a serious matter that the town of Richmond does not tolerate."
Fire Chief Matt Roberge would not comment Wednesday.
Anderson said Wednesday that she could not discuss details because it is a personnel matter. She acknowledged, however, that the town has retained an investigator, whom she declined to identify. So far the town has not spent any money on the probe, she said.
Anderson said she is not conducting the investigation herself and her only involvement has been taking the complaint.
Clarence Cummins, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said Anderson is keeping the selectmen informed. He said he did not know who was investigating, but he also said the town has not spent money on the investigation.
Cummins said he didn't know if the Aug. 3 incident was isolated or part of a pattern.
Police Chief Scott MacMaster said his department is not investigating the incident.
The fire department, according to its Facebook page, responded to six calls for service during a storm on Aug. 3, the date that the firefighter discovered his boots had been filled with water.
The station on Myrtle Street is the town's main fire station. The volunteer call fire department has about 25 members.
Anderson's letter said any firefighters with information about the incident should contact her immediately. Any cases of harassment, she writes, "should be an issue to all firefighters and reported immediately to the fire chief or town manager."
Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Keith Edwards can be contacted at 621-5647 or: