Paramedic suspension triggers more litigation in Oak Bluffs

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Alleging “neglect of duty and lack of good judgment,” Oak Bluffs Fire/EMS Chief John Rose placed firefighter/paramedic Chris Flanders on two-week suspension without pay on Nov. 29.

In response, attorneys for the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) filed a charge of prohibited practice with the Department of Labor Relations against the town on Dec. 1.

The basis of the charge is that the EMS/fire department never notified or bargained with the union about the imposition of any discipline.

The charge comes on the heels of a Nov. 29 labor relations ruling, which found probable cause for 11 alleged unfair labor practices against the town in response to a 16-count complaint filed by the IAFF. One count in that complaint alleged the town denied Mr. Flanders his right to representation in a disciplinary hearing on Aug. 15.
In his Nov. 29 suspension letter, Chief Rose alleged that Mr. Flanders called for mutual aid to take over a MedFlight without properly exploring other options. In addition, he alleged Mr. Flanders has demonstrated a “recurring pattern of carelessness,” most recently by leaving a laptop computer at a Boston hospital, and inadvertently taking the keys to an ambulance, “leaving it and its crew stranded at the ER unable to respond to an emergency.”