John Rose to join Tisbury ambulance service

Former O.B. chief in 'orientation process,’ ambulance director says.

John Rose, shown here while he was still Oak Bluffs fire chief, has joined the West Tisbury fire department. -Gabrielle Mannino

John Rose, who left his job last year as the Oak Bluffs fire and EMS chief under a cloud of controversy surrounding sexual harassment claims and ambulance billing practices, is in the process of joining Tisbury’s ambulance service. On Thursday Tisbury Ambulance Director Tracey Jones confirmed Rose, an experienced paramedic, was going through an “orientation process” along with another paramedic and four EMTs. Rose and the five others are slated for per diem ambulance work, Jones said. 

Tisbury select board member Larry Gomez said of Rose, “He’s been in per diem for a few weeks.” Asked if he had any thoughts or concerns about Rose’s hire for per diem work, Gomez said, “I didn’t hire him. I don’t even know the man.”

He went on to say, “Whether it’s concerning to me or not, I have no control over who they hire.”

The Tisbury select board is in transition. Asked for comment on Thursday, recent chair Jim Rogers, who lost in Tuesday’s election, said the select board doesn’t make day-to-day personnel decisions. Board member Jeff Kristal did not respond to a message. 

Town administrator Jay Grande didn’t respond to texts, phone messages, or messages left through his assistant during two visits to town hall.

Tisbury finance director Jonathan Snyder told The Times in an email, “I am told that Mr. Rose has not yet been hired.” “If or when he is, he would be paid $28 an hour as a part-time/seasonal paramedic on step 1 of that scale.”

Rose resigned April 30, 2020, from his post in Oak Bluffs after striking an agreement with the town. Rose was earning $131,736 at the time of his resignation.

“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,” a town of Oak Bluffs release stated. Prior to his resignation, Oak Bluffs settled a sexual harassment complaint lodged against Rose. 

A $97,500 settlement came in January 2020, following a Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) complaint and lawsuit by a fire department employee. Cynthia Hatt, who no longer works in the department, accused Rose of making sexual advances, and alleged he then retaliated against her when she rejected them. As part of the settlement, Hatt withdrew her MCAD complaint and a Barnstable Superior Court suit.

In both the complaint and the suit, Hatt alleged that she had a consensual relationship with Rose, but after a breakup, she alleged that Rose persisted in his pursuit of her and took away overtime pay in retaliation.

During the end of Rose’s tenure at the Oak Bluffs Fire Department, the FBI was in the midst of an investigation into the department’s handling of federal billing for Medicare and Medicaid. In September 2019, Former Oak Bluffs town administrator Robert Whritenour confirmed the town had overbilled for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for off-Island ambulance runs. Asked Thursday for an update on the investigation, FBI spokesperson Kristen Setera said the agency declines comment. 

Rose did not respond to a phone call or text messages seeking comment.

Reached Thursday, Hatt declined to comment. 

Jones said all candidates undergo a background check as part of their evaluation process. 

“There’s a need,” she said of new per diems. The ambulance service has four full-time paramedics who’ve worked through the pandemic and are headed into the summer season. Calls for overtime work are increasing, she said, and she doesn’t want to burn those four full-time paramedics out. 

Jones described Rose’s paramedic skills as exceptional. “If my mother were sick, that’s who I’d want coming through the door,” she said. 


  1. So the appointing authority for all town employees, the bored of selectmen, has one member dodging calls, one short-timer who claims to not have any day to day dealings with employee hiring, and one who doesn’t know anything. Oh and we can’t forget the Grande, taking a cue from selectman number one. Who did the background check on this employee, the police farce? Does the town insurance company know of this hire? Here we finally get to see the true lack of reality based town leadership…. You really have got to be kidding! It is my sincere hope the new ‘voice of reason’ Mr. Cotrer can start putting an end to this idiocy.

  2. Is this reporting correct?, I mean what are we talking about or town hiring a employee of witch we read about in this paper for over a year. Look what it took for OB to get rid of this bad news bear The BOS has one new member it needs two more asap, these are the same people spending our tax payer money getting Veterans Memorial Park, all set to be the permire concert site for private interests here on island. I’d like to know how much the town is getting what percentage? so many questions but no answers.Call Mr Kristal if you have any questions.

    • Hello Carlos , Thank you for being concerned about the work we are performing at Vets Park, I would like to clarify a few things, this work is for the taxpayers and has nothing to do with the concert, we are using CPC funds to provide a better / safer parking lot which includes 2 new ADA parking spots and solar lighting. Please note this park has never had ADA parking .. this is just the beginning, we will be making more improvements each year… you build it, they will come

      • Did the town have to get a permit from the state DEP for filling in wet lands and part of the black river which is a water source for the Lagoon? I am surprised more public notifications where not made about this work that is filling in an environmental sensitive area.

        • Carlos Dgotta , I would like you to explain to me where exactly this “black River ” is. Where does it run from? what is its source ? How is grading a parking lot that has existed for over 50 years now effecting this mighty river ? If you could give me a general area as to where it flows I would love to see it.

          • Darren Weich, let me explain to you, from mosquito control maps from the 1950’s the fresh water springs located by the existing volleyball court is the head waters for the black river. The 50 year? imprint of the parking lot was expanded by many feet at the end, you must get out and walk to the end of the new lot imprint jutting into that little stream (black river) also the many square feet of marsh growth filled in with the dirt that was transported by town truck to the location. But what I was asking where is the DEP from the state of Massachusetts for this reconfigured parking lot.

  3. The Town of Tisbury is the Oakland Raiders of Martha’s Vineyard civics, with no John Madden in sight.

  4. Wow you can not make this up it reads like a TV script. Love reading about VH just wait until the sequel.

  5. This guy is an excellent paramedic who some testify is one they would hope for if in trouble. Allegations were made but none proven and the woman has testified she had an consensual relationship and later dropped the charge. I would hate to have some of you folks on a jury. Yes ordinary people are not obliged to believe that someone is innocent before proven–that is a judicial concept, but damning this guy for an hourly wage job in an important function is dumb.

  6. What is going on Tisbury Voters……
    JAY GRANDE…. Hey MVTimes call when you want to hear that it’s wrong why he’s still there!! I’m disgusted!
    I wrote grants for that town to get back on the recycling map…. $$$ hundreds of thousands of$$$ how was that spent or at all? Hmmm

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