AUGUSTA — The Maine Human Rights Commission voted Monday to find no reasonable grounds to believe Augusta’s police chief was a victim of disability discrimination by his condominium’s road association when his street wasn’t immediately plowed following a big December snowstorm.

Robert C. Gregoire, who is police chief of the Augusta Police Department, had filed a complaint with the human rights agency alleging discrimination on the basis of disability on the part of Woodland Ridge Condominium Association in Augusta. Gregoire uses a wheelchair for mobility as a result of injuries he suffered in a motorcycle accident in September 2014. He was initially paralyzed, but has since regained some use of his limbs.

Gregoire emailed the association president, who is not named in the complaint, at 9:53 a.m. on Dec. 30, 2016, and “expressed concern that he could not leave for work or leave in the event of an emergency.” Normally the roads are plowed by 9 a.m., according to an investigator’s report.

The association, which is responsible for managing snow removal from driveways, walkways and private roads there, hires a contractor to do the work.

Gregoire was in a meeting Monday morning and unable to comment on the case, according to an administrative assistant.

Carol Eisenberg, an attorney representing the association, said Monday, “Mr. Gregoire’s neighbors were stunned by his allegation that the plowing service provided to the whole community somehow discriminated against him. They were gratified when the Maine Human Rights Commission investigation confirmed that they did not discriminate against him in any way.”


She also noted, “Woodland Ridge Condominium Association is a small community of mostly elderly people in their 70s and 80s who pride themselves on being fair, inclusive and accommodating.”

Gregoire, who represented himself in the complaint, did not attend Monday’s commission meeting where cases are handled. The case was listed on the consent agenda, so no oral arguments were anticipated.

More than a foot of snow fell in the area on Dec. 30, 2016, and 28,000 Central Maine Power Company customers were without power at 9:10 a.m. on New Year’s Eve.

State offices had a late start that day as did the Augusta City Center.

Stuart Evans, who investigated the complaint for the commission, said in his report that the city did not plow the streets leading to the Woodland development until 9 a.m. and that there was 14-16 inches of snow on the ground. He also noted that a plow truck sent by the contractor before 9 a.m. “got stuck on the streets leading to complainant’s home and could not clear the snow as early as usual.”

The report said the president of the association notified the homeowners about the delay, and Gregoire asked if the work could be done “sooner rather than later.” Plowing resumed about 1 p.m. and Gregoire’s driveway was not cleared until 3 p.m.


Gregoire emailed the president, according to the report, “reiterating his displeasure at the service provided by contractor. In his email, complainant requested the reasonable accommodation of having ‘the ability to leave my home and be safe.’”

Evans’ report says that after Gregoire complained to the association president that day, the condo association “arranged for complainant to be plowed/shoveled out first in all future snow storms and informed (him) of this accommodation.”

Evans’ report also says, “The evidence shows that the accommodation provided was reasonable.”

A footnote in the report also indicated that after the Dec. 31 storm, Gregoire “complained at least once that contractor was too quick to plow — it plowed when the amount of snow did not call for plowing.”

Gregoire has been police chief in Augusta since January 2011. Prior to that he was deputy chief.


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