, Salem, MA

October 3, 2012

Appeal set for Jan. 17 for fired firefighter


---- — SALEM — A former firefighter who was fired by the city for allegedly misappropriating more than $25,000 in union charitable funds has appealed his dismissal to the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission.

The state agency has scheduled a hearing for Jan. 17 in Boston.

Lt. John O'Leary, a 16-year veteran and former president of the Salem firefighters union, was terminated on Aug. 30 following a disciplinary hearing.

A city investigation concluded he "misappropriated funds intended for charitable purposes."

His attorney said the firefighter strongly denies the charges and spent all of the union funds on charitable causes. At worst, he said O'Leary might have been a "poor record-keeper."

Tom Dalton can be reached at