By Elizabeth F. McNamara
David Gorman, an East Greenwich firefighter who was one of the six lateral transfers hired last year, has filed suit against the Town of East Greenwich and Council President Sue Cienki, saying that the town committed illegal acts “by and through its Town Council President.”
Cienki is being sued in both her official and individual capacities.
The lawsuit centers on a meeting at Town Hall June 12, with Cienki, former Town Manager Tom Coyle, Town Council Vice President Sean Todd, Fire Chief Russell McGillivray, EGFD Lt. Bill Perry (head of the EG firefighters union), and firefighter and union representative Michael Jones. Perry has said previously that he requested the meeting with town officials following a presentation at the June 5 Town Council meeting by then-consultants and now town manager and town finance director respectively Gayle Corrigan and Linda Dykeman. Perry said the presentation included misinformation about the fire department.
According to the lawsuit, during the meeting Cienki said she was unhappy with several town firefighters who had formerly worked for other municipalities because they came to the town with “history,” and she singled out Gorman, calling him “a sociopath.”
Gorman came to the EGFD from Central Coventry Fire District, where he had been the union president. Corrigan was hired to manage Central Coventry in March 2016; she continues to hold that position.
The lawsuit refers to an incident during the meeting that town officials and Cienki herself have acknowledged took place, in which Cienki said of Gorman, “I will cut off his **** and feed them to his god damn dog.”
After Perry complained to the town about Cienki’s comments, Town Solicitor David D’Agostino investigated the incident and Corrigan, who by then was town manager, said Cienki had been “counseled to not make such statements in the future as they are not productive to labor-management relationships.”
The lawsuit states Gorman sent a letter Sept. 8 to members of the Town Council describing Cienki’s defamatory and sexually harassing comments and asking for monetary compensation and other relief from the town and Cienki within 40 days. Gorman received no response to his letter, prompting the legal action.
According to the lawsuit, Cienki’s description of Gorman as a sociopath has damaged his reputation and her statement threatening his genitals constituted sexual harassment and violated the state Civil Rights Act. Gorman is seeking monetary damages.
You can read the complaint here: Gorman Complaint.