John Rose has resigned from his job as the Oak Bluffs fire chief.
“Chief John Rose and the Oak Bluffs Board of Selectmen have mutually agreed to part ways so that the Fire Department and EMS Services can begin their next chapter,” the town wrote in a statement. “Chief Rose has submitted his resignation and retirement effective April 30, 2020. The Town will start the process of finding a replacement in the interim. The chief has also agreed to assist in any transition, if requested.”
The move comes weeks after a dramatic meeting of the board of selectmen where the board released a statement about the chief, disclosed he had been suspended previously for 21 days, acknowledged an ongoing FBI investigation, and released executive session minutes that showed a divide amongst board members about Rose and his ability to lead the fire department.
“The selectmen and the chief have signed a mutually agreeable separation agreement and release that contains the customary provisions such as payment for all accrued leave time, cooperation, if requested, and non-disparagement,” the town’s email states. “This is a stressful time and both parties have agreed to limit their comments to this statement.”
As the new year began, the town confirmed it had settled a $97,500 lawsuit with Cynthia Hatt, a former fire department employee who accused Rose of making sexual advances and then retaliating against her when she rejected them. In exchange for the payment, Hatt withdrew a complaint before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and a lawsuit she filed in Barnstable Superior Court.
In both, Hatt disclosed that she had a consensual relationship with Rose. After a breakup, she alleges that Rose persisted in his pursuit of her and took away overtime in retaliation.
The FBI and a grand jury are looking into the fire department’s ambulance billing. In October, the town revealed that it had overcharged Medicare and Medicaid by $37,505.
The statement from the town gives a window into the chief’s letter: “Chief Rose’s retirement letter thanks all his staff as well as, what he describes as, all the incredibly dedicated Volunteer Firemen, EMTs, Police Officers, and other public safety officials that he worked with during his 30-plus years with the Oak Bluffs Fire Department and EMS Department. The town thanks him for his service to the town’s fire and emergency needs for the last 30 years.”