, Salem, MA

Local News

January 23, 2014

O'Leary appeals firing to court

SALEM — Former fire Lt. John O’Leary, who was fired by the city for the alleged misappropriation of funds from a union charity account, has appealed his termination to Superior Court.

O’Leary, 45, filed a court complaint this week that named the city and the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission as defendants. He is seeking reinstatement to the Fire Department and back pay.

The appeal comes a month after the Civil Service Commission upheld the city’s 2012 decision to fire O’Leary, an arson investigator who served as president of Salem Firefighters Local 172 from 2002 to 2010.

During that period, O’Leary oversaw a union charity account in a local credit union, often withdrawing cash or cashing bank checks to make contributions to causes ranging from youth sports organizations to fundraisers held by elected officials, according to testimony before the Civil Service Commission.

While the city concluded O’Leary had misappropriated more than $25,000, the state board found only five instances of alleged misappropriations totaling $2,100.

Commission Chairman Christopher Bowman, the hearing officer, said O’Leary had been “untruthful” about donations to the Stephen O’Grady Fund, Salem High Golf, a Lynn firefighter, the Salem Recreation Department and the Salem Cartoon Basketball League.

He said that those groups or individuals did not receive money O’Leary said was given to them and that O’Leary also used funds from the account to pay his personal travel expenses.

Bowman called the alleged conduct “egregious” and said O’Leary “irrevocably violated (public) trust, and there is no place for him in the Salem Fire Department.”

O’Leary strongly denied any wrongdoing, characterized the union probe as personally and politically motivated, and he offered evidence to refute some of the city’s charges.

He said records he kept were misplaced or lost by union officials after he left office.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Comments Tracker