Firefighter Sues Town, Council President for Defamation, Harassment

by | Nov 5, 2017

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Council President Sue Cienki, center, during a Town Council meeting in June. Town Manager Gayle Corrigan is to her right and Town Solicitor David D’Agostino is to her right.

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.

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bob ingerson
bob ingerson
November 6, 2017 7:55 am

ya just can’t make the stuff up. this dynamic duo [ Corrigan and Cienki ] is going to cost the town dearly.

Renu Englehart
Renu Englehart
November 6, 2017 2:18 pm

Just the cost of defending the town from these lawsuits should be reason enough to question the integrity of the town manager/town council president. I’m trying to imagine that these lawsuits alone must be costing the town more (esp if the town loses) then letting the firefighter contract run its course. Btw if Mr. Gorman is suing I certainly hope that Mr. Coyle would consider a defamation lawsuit as well. The town admin continuously places blame on Mr. Coyle and others without merit or actual facts.

Steve Fay
Steve Fay
November 6, 2017 5:24 pm

Mr. Gorman, who held the position of Fire Captain in Central Coventry, starts his career over in East Greenwich because of the previous hostile work environment. He quietly transfers, is placed on probation, trains to East Greenwich Fire Department standards and goes to work as a “new” appointee with EGFD. All is quiet, until Ms. Corrigan shows up with her traveling “snake oil” show complete with a new solicitor who ,{what?}, “cherry picks laws, ordinances, and governing practices as he sees fit? Go all the way back to the ethics and business practices of Gayle Corrigan when she was with and terminated from SENESCO in Quonset Point. Moving along with a “peas in the pod” theory, this witch Cienki seems to have been cultivated right out of the Central Coventry Fire District herb farm. Seems she subscribes to the same crap as the clowns who border East Greenwich. I hope the honest folks in East Greenwich break out the Samsonite for Corrigan, Cienki, et al…they all need to take a one way trip. Send them South, the North doesn’t need nor want them.


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