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City Ordered to Rehire Fired Attleboro Firefighter/EMT

Massachusetts Civil Service Commission's decision states William Dunn was "not milking the system."

The . has ordered the city to rehire William Dunn, an Attleboro firefighter of 16 years who was suspended then fired from his job in 2009. Dunn was fired after it was discovered he was still working in his other job while on "line of duty leave" from the AFD.

The Massachusetts Civil Service Commission said Dunn's case did not show an "employee who is milking the disability system at taxpayer expense" by managing his maintenance business, Consider it Dunn, while on  leave for an injury to his knee.

Dunn, who made approximately $46,000 with the AFD, was observed by a private investigator who reported the firefighter was seen climbing into the truck, picking up the piece of power equipment and handing it to one of the other men, and throwing a bundle of wooden stakes out of the truck and observed lifting large pieces of drywall up out of the truck.

He was also allegedly observed kneeling by a boy who had been involved in an accident on his bicycle. The PI's report states that Dunn stopped his truck and crossed the street where he stood over the boy, and bent down with his “legs spread wide as he bent down to tend to the boy."

In his testimony Dunn disputes some of the PI's findings and the Commission's decision states that Dunn was not milking the system. 

In fact, Commissioner Paul Stein states in the 35-page decision that to the contrary, "Dunn was dutifully complying with all reasonable advice he had received from his treating physicians and therapists who honestly believed, as did he, that their course of treatment was medically necessary to bring him to the point at which he safely could return to the job he loved."

The decision goes on to say that the firefighter/EMT devoted 20 or more hours per week in treatment before Attleboro pulled the plug.

It also states, however, that the city correctly points out that it is not within the Commission’s purview to make a determination whether Dunn was, or now is, fit to return to full duty, but only whether Attleboro proved by a preponderance of substantial evidence that, from October 2008 through April 2009, Dunn misrepresented his condition as worse than he knew, or reasonably should have known, it to be. 

"He shall be reinstated to his position as an AFD firefighter/EMT without loss of any benefits to which he is entitled on or after April 9, 2009," the decision by Commissioner Paul Stein states. "Nothing in this decision, however, is intended to establish the specific employment status to which the Appellant should be reinstated (for example, limited duty, full duty or LOD leave).

Former Attleboro Fire Chief Ronald Churchill would not comment on the Commission's decision, but said "Mayor (Kevin Dumas) and Chief (Scott Lachance) will have to deal with the costs and effect this ruling will have on the department."

City officials did not respond to request for comment on the Commission's decision and whether an appeal of the decision will be filed. The law firm representing Dunn, Pyle Rome Ehrenberg, could not be reached for comment. Calls to a number associated with "Consider it Dunn," went unanswered.

If a file for a motion is filed, it must be done within 10 days of receiving the Commission's decision, which is dated June 2, 2011.

Michael Harris June 09, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Smells like an expensive ego battle between mayor and Dunn. Private Investigators?? Sounds like we've discovered a local hero vs a political egoist at the expense of the tax payers.
DAN DEVINE June 09, 2011 at 05:32 PM
As I've said in the past, everything not so "ROSEY" in the current administration, With the A.R.A. Fiasco / Reinstatement, MAR Seafoods, other errors in judgment & now this ruling it's getting Expen$ive for the Attleboro Taxpayers.
Bob June 09, 2011 at 06:11 PM
Local hero? Please. Let me grab a violin and play it while I read that one again. The guy is out of work for almost a year and a half, getting paid a full salary and benefits, tax free, yet he can work his private job without problem and get paid there too? Civil Service's mantra should read,"Bankrupting America at YOUR expense!"
Reason June 09, 2011 at 07:37 PM
Reading the report linked in the article the work he was doing isn't comprable to the work of an EMT.
Sailor Boy June 09, 2011 at 10:57 PM
Hey Mayor you got to stop this! Your killing the Taxpayers.
Lee Holt June 10, 2011 at 02:19 AM
I'll tell you what’s killing the taxpayers…an employee being paid $46,000 tax free for “climbing into trucks, picking up power equipment, throwing a bundle of wooden stakes out of the truck, lifting large pieces of drywall up out of the truck, and kneeling by a boy who had been involved in an accident on his bicycle” while claiming he couldn’t work as a firefighter. There are plenty of honorable, hard working men and women who are itching to serve on our city's fire department, but can't because we now have to restore someone like this guy. Mayor - Keep up the good work and don't give up just because of this ridiculous opinion by the clowns at civil service.
blueskies June 10, 2011 at 09:58 AM
Agreed with you Lee...after reading both of these recent Civil Service Reports I am in great doubt about them! NOT the Mayor! How could they possibly state that Judy Robbins does not have the financial acumen to see ARA was in a financial bind? How could they possibly watch a video of Mr. Dunn doing his "private" job and then say he was so injured he could not be criticized for not returning to active duty on the Fire Department?
Stephen Jacques June 10, 2011 at 01:44 PM
A man blows out his knee carrying a 300 pound patient doing the job he was hired to do and you want to take his pay from him? Perhaps you should read the entire 35 page ruling. Pay close attention to the part that says there was no dry wall. Pay close attention to the part where Mr. Dunn's surgeon after months of physical therapy has him in a work hardening program doing exactly this kind of activity. Read the part about the pictures of Mr. Dunn kneeling by a boy who was actually struck by a car and you will discover that he was kneeling on his good knee. Facts can be stubborn things! If Mr. Dunn had not stopped to help a little boy struck by a car he would never again be able to set foot in any fire station on the planet without being tortured. How do i know? I am a proud member 0f the Attleboro Fire Dept. and i would gladly follow a "healthy" Bill Dunn into any situation that may presented itself. Bill Dunn has more personal integrity than most people. He has worked hard for everything he has both on and off the job he loves. Unfortunately for this administration i believe it was mislead by rumor and misinformation. Its going to cost the taxpayers of this city some money in back pay. As a taxpayer myself I have no problem justice being served.
Bob June 10, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Stephen - The fact that you are able to post on a public website with your full name and proudly state you are a member of the AFD shows that even you have a level of job security that most of us don't or could even dream of having. If I posted with my full name and spoke against the policies and procedures of my employer, I would probably be fired immediately. I would not have the safety and security of a union and a back-up commission called civil service that would almost assuredly stand behind me and fight for my job for me. No, I would be canned. Plain and simple. To your point, Mr. Dunn was observed to be able to accomplish the duties of his other job while not being able to return to work for his primary job - one that he is continued to be paid fully and untaxed. If he was seen in his other job just sitting behind a desk, that would be another matter. However, he is seen doing strenuous activity. Even if he was just about able to return to work after 16-months of rest (or so we assumed), he should have thought twice about the perception he was giving off to others - especially his primary employer. At the point he was able to throw a bundle of wood and lift large pieces of drywall, he should have notified and/or returned to his primary job even in a limited capacity to prove that he was ready, willing and able for future employment.
Reason June 10, 2011 at 04:18 PM
Are you missing the part of the report where he was not lifting drywall? I wouldn't qualify carrying materials and equipment which weigh less then 20lbs on his other job as strenuous. That's not to say the investigator missed something but from what I read the city exaggerated the evidence which was collected. For the record I have no affiliation with the fire department.
Lee Holt June 10, 2011 at 06:47 PM
I agree with firefighter Jacques (on one point, that is). It is the facts (and not the "factfinders" at civil service) that matter most. The decision seems to place a great deal of emphasis on some sort of surveilance video. Could Patch get a copy of that video for all of us to see? If a picture is worth a 1000 tales, imagine what a video is worth.
Stephen Jacques June 10, 2011 at 06:52 PM
I will not respond to anyone who lacks the courage to sign their name to what they post. Sorry Bob or whoever you are.
RUKIDINME June 11, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Wow Leeroy and Boob seem to be happy with the cities agents (mayor, fire chief, city personnel/lawyer) being on a vendetta and costing the city more than $100,000 as performing their jobs admirably. Instead they broke the law, had a Doctor order him back to work with out examining the patient or reviewing the MRI's, and not relying on the specialists. As far as the video evidence presented by the city; this was all proven false prior to Dunn being fired. No wallboard, no heavy tools being lifted, no kneeling on bad knee. What was learned was all these accusations were false. This included the fact that he used a step to get in the truck. Unjust termination, be enlightened and read the hearing transcript. Can u say witch hunt?
RUKIDINME June 11, 2011 at 10:32 PM
Boob, He was not observed doing strenuous activity. Not lifting wallboard, not stakes, not heavy equipment/tools, not kneeling on bad knee. How about reading the hearing transcript and decision. As a taxpayer you should be offended by your city officials that broke the law by firing Mr. Dunn. By now Mr. Dunn would have been back to work or if unable to perform the job retired. What is the cost? Hey ask the chief, mayor, or city lawyer. I'm sure you will get a "NO COMMENT" answer. Much like the chief said.
RUKIDINME June 11, 2011 at 10:39 PM
I agree with you completely!! The ignoramus Bob is actually spelled Boob.

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