Chief Rose, town part ways 

Embattled fire chief will retire effective April 30.

Fire Chief John Rose, shown here before a Sept. 10 executive session, is retiring effective April 30. - Gabrielle Mannino

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.”



  1. Wow. This is how the times writes about someone’s retirement? What a shame. Someone who gave 30 years of their life to this community? Someone who helped saved many of our family members lives and was one of the best at it? Someone who sacrificed their emotional health, time with their family and friends off the clock and had endless dedication to their job? Reporting like they’re a tabloid, as they have since the beginning. If I was the Chief I would no longer want to be subjected to this thankless bias reporting either. What a loss for the Town of Oak Bluffs. I hope right minded sane people can see through this. An article about the Chiefs retirement and all they do is feel the need to report on one mistake he made, and the mystery of some FBI investigation no one knows about? They failed to mention all the incredibly good things that he has done in his career at the department, and that list is endless. I am so discouraged that this is the kind of newspaper that represents our community.

    • Benjamin Franklin said it well with the following: “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

    • Unfortunately this is how and what people will remember. These reporters need to get the “story” and these types of stories are salacious at best….they sell papers. It really is very sad.

  2. Sad that is a world you want to live in. Here’s to hoping you never make a mistake in your life. Those in the public eye are just under a microscope. I would rather John Rose show up to save my child or parents life based on his immense skill and knowledge as a paramedic because he is by far one of the best on this island. I think the last thing on my mind would be that he “had a consensual adult relationship.” This is all just political people that want his job or were disgruntled about having to leave oak bluffs and spent years manipulating him out with strategically planned attacks. Has anyone stopped and wondered why the FBI is investigating a tiny ambulance company on Martha’s Vineyard??? When there are ambulance companies that make way more money and have a way higher call volume they could be looking into all over the country…Hmmm? Pretty sure if any ambulance company was investigated by the FBI they would find something they could fix about their billing practices and documentation, as many larger ambulance companies have been investigated and usually they work with the FBI to fix things. Ambulance billing is incredibly complicated and why most people hire third party companies to take care of it. And the Chief has very little if almost nothing to do with billing, besides hiring the company and putting people in charge of overseeing billing. The town is at fault here in so many ways they just need a scapegoat and they acted without thinking. Brian Packish has made it clear that he wanted the Chief gone, and I’m sorry but I think a lot of voters in Oak Bluffs know what a big mistake was made here.

    • Islander64, your blind loyalty is overwhelming. I can give John credit where credit is due. He is/was a good if not great paramedic and firefighter. If I was sick or injured, it would not bother me at all if any of the Rose family in EMS were the ones treating me. However, that is where any and all credit ends. To be a leader one must, as Chief Rose put it, “ lead by example.” This he did not do. His moral compass has been eschew for years. One can have great talents and still be immoral and corrupt. Many other great medics and EMTs left that that department because they were either run out of there for calling him out on his behavior, being victims of favoritism or unwanted sexual advances. He surrounded himself with “yes men” which is never good for a leader of a department. His narcissism just oozed from the pages of his resignation letter to the department. In the last 10 years alone over 12 medics and administrative assistants have left that department. A turnover rate like that speaks volumes about the atmosphere in that building. But to you Islander64, none of that matters, right? To you, islander64, everyone who had a negative experience with John is a liar. I will say it again, nepotism charges by the state, union busting techniques, sexual discrimination charges by more than just one woman(go back and read the articles from 2017 in the times) and fbi investigations all in the span of five years. Islander64 you live in a world of alternative facts. John had great potential to be a leader and could not make the right ethical/moral decisions and to that end he has no one to blame but himself. One other thing islander64, the FBI investigates criminal activity. I strongly doubt a bunch of lying, manipulating, disgruntled ex-employees from a small island can persuade a federal investigation. My theory is and I’m allowed to have a theory since I was personally tracked down and interviewed by two FBI agents is that because the town’s cherished revolving fund was making less, due to less and less Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. Patient run reports were being being inflated on mileage, procedures and so on. This in turn increases the amount of the bill which in turn increases the reimbursement which increases the balance in the the revolving fund. That, islander64, is fraud, and fraud is a crime whether you want to believe it or not. Was John pocketing this money, you may ask? Highly doubtful in my opinion, he’s not nearly smart enough for something like that. But again in my opinion and I know a lot about the inner workings of the department he was using the money received from fraudulent billing to boost the fund. Then he can go to the town and say look how good I’m doing. Look how much money I made you and how much money I saved the OB taxpayers. Now I need you to by me this engine or ambulance or police cruiser or piece of other equipment.
      Fraud is fraud. So islander64, I have told you once before, if you want to be be there to support John in his life after retirement that is your choice and I have no qualms with that. But please stop with the comments that make you look like you are enabling fraudulent behavior . And at the end of the day, when all the smoke clears, that is exactly what Chief Rose was….a fraud.

      • I would like to make a correction to my above statement, I meant to say sexual discrimination allegations and NOT sexual discrimination charges. There is a difference and in Chief Rose’s defense, he was never charged.

      • The way you speak in your comments “I told you once before” just makes you sound as ignorant as the rest of your libelous comments. Here’s to hoping you get sued for libel! People left the department for a multitude of reasons, and they all had their faults too and were far from perfect, let me tell you. It can’t be solely blamed on John why every employee has left that department or been fired and I know that for a FACT. The nature of the transport business has brought a lot of challenges and turmoil to the department, and a large divide was made between off island medics and the ones who lived on the island not seeing eye to eye and disagreeing with the Union. If John is such a horrible person why are there so many volunteer FF and EMTS who have been on the department for years? Some who speak incredibly highly of him. Do you think every person who works anywhere is going to agree/ like their boss? No, because they have to make the hard decisions. Also a lot have left for a better more stable schedule elsewhere. I know there’s a small group of you that are so angered/ obsessed/ jealous with Chief rose, but YOU made mistakes you blame him for and none of you are perfect or better than him in any way shape or form. And many of those people who left, John should have fired them long before they left or were fired, some for doing some bad stuff they could have lost everything over, but John stood behind them and gave them chances when he shouldn’t have. People take advantage of good people and blame them when they don’t get their way. But he gave all of them as many chances as he could, and what did they Do? Get greedy and turn on him when he wouldn’t keep bending and bending for them. People want to judge his personal life when they themselves have skeletons in their closets while working there too. I am not condoning fraudulent behavior. I am simply pointing that everyone is speculating about the FBI when none of us know what it’s over exactly. I’ve done a lot of research and this has gone on at a lot of ambulance companies all over the country, an attempt to implicate more precise and accurate billing practices, the FBI is doing their job. But my point is a lot of this is done unknowingly and not maliciously. My “theory” is that the possy of disgruntled employees that didn’t get the Chief out of his job when they conspired to and it made them all look quite stupid in the papers, the people who live every wakening moment and second to complain to this person and that person are the result of said investigation taking place in the first place (my guess). I barely read your comment because it’s so so incredibly long, but my advice to you is to somehow find within yourself a way to be less jealous and obsessed with John Rose especially now that he’s happily retired, and spend less time on your long drawn out theories that seem like they have taken a lot of time and an unhealthy amount of obsession.

      • There’s no point to continue this here. I am trying to offer the underrepresented opinion which I am entitled to. Let’s move on from this I will no longer comment back to you. Best to you in your life.

  3. The FBI’s job is to investigate criminal activity and arrest/charge those they find have violated the law… not fix problems. Hopefully they will find town leadership responsible and we can start with a clean sweep of the selectmen and town non-administrator.

  4. A mistake??
    Rather a series of very poor, selfish, personal choices that carried consequences known to hurt his family, others families, his job and his community.
    Not the qualities one wants in a leader, a chief, a representative of their town regardless of past accolades.

    Remember, no one is irreplaceable, there is always someone who can serve equally well who would make
    more responsible personal choices.
    Don’t ever settle for less.

  5. And you talk about high turnover rates? The last time I checked none of the other departments on the island had a transport business? They have a few full time medics and a volunteer department. You try working the schedule in Oak Bluffs versus the schedule in another town and tell me you are not going to have a higher burnout rate? Getting stuck off island, getting woken up in the morning for the early boat or having to drive back to work for the 8:30 boat?? Do you know how many people complained about doing transport that worked there? Your vengeance is clear, you’ve made it known.

    • “Your vengeance is clear”? That’s a little harsh, don’t you think? You should step back and separate the personal from the facts in your various posts. Your loyalty to Rose is laudable. But it comes with risks, and you’ve been exposed to them. His personal choices on several matters bled negatively into his professional life, and that was his undoing. Those are facts, ones he’s admitted to lying about. As for the FBI none of us know the facts around their investigation. Yet. Maybe the grand jury will reveal them, or maybe the investigation will simply close. My uncle was a special agent for the FBI, and worked on some interesting (and many dull) cases. He never spoke about them, even during family events, until they became public. Even then he only revealed what was published in the papers or on TV. If something was wrong in the FD we’ll find out. If not, we’ll never know.

  6. It is quite interesting to hear people talk about ”moral compass” for leadership. That horse has left the barn years ago. It wasnt long ago when people said that the private life of Bill Clinton wouldnt affect his ability to lead in the Presidency. With Trump its all about ”moral compass” again. We are going full circle with the ”me too” movement wherein lots of people are getting pilloried for consensual relationships. Consensual used to be acceptable but now the sensitivity is razor thin. The sexual revolution which the secularists initiated caused this kick back and now they dont know what to do with their beloved heroes who get caught.

    • Just as a general thought, because I don’t know enough about this specific case to even have an informed opinion, I agree that it is dangerous for society to lump consensual adult relationships and non-consensual assault together as if they’re the same problem.

  7. I respect John Immensely and there is a lot the public is unaware of. Especially pertaining to certain allegations made. The newspapers only represent one side of the story, The Story that Islander64 is spewing. I am simply offering my opinion, if Islander64 can have his “theories” so can I. The only difference is i wasn’t involved in the FBI investigation and he/she was which doesn’t reflect well on him or the FBI. I was involved in that department for years as well and know about a lot of prior employees often having extensive conversations with current employees behind closed doors or on boat rides attempting to manipulate within the department because they were angry. There’s a lot that the public doesn’t know about certain situations too, And there are two sides to every story. The people trashing John have a lot of their own skeletons in their closets as well so why not just leave it alone If you don’t have the right to throw stones? If the newspaper was representing all sides I would have nothing to say. I have the right to voice those things to the public. I have never once in any comment condoned fraudulent behavior or activity, I have only stated That people need to back up the speculation accusing people of purposely doing this or that. Because no one has been charged. And Because I have researched FBI investigations into other private ambulance companies and that’s often not the case from what I have read, it’s often done unintentionally. And if your relative worked in the FBI maybe you could ask them about how Islander64 is publicly announcing his involvement in the investigation and relaying details (Or what he calls theories but cmon) of said Investigation on the internet. Because if you read in the FBIs website, that doesn’t seem to be in line with their policies. I appreciate all our differences in opinions As just that, let’s leave it at that and move on were exhausting ourselves. I agree with you on one thing, I hope the whole entire truth finds a way to come out sometime soon.

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