Town Manager Gayle Corrigan acknowledged Monday in a response to a complaint by Lt. Bill Perry, head of the EG firefighters union, that Town Council President Sue Cienki threatened to cut off Perry’s and another firefighter’s genitals during a meeting June 12.
In the response, Corrigan wrote that Cienki had been “counseled to not make such statements in the future as they are not conducive to productive labor-management relationships.”
But, Corrigan wrote, there was nothing further to do since Cienki is not Perry’s supervisor and, “as a general town officer and elected official, she is not subject to disciplinary action.”
This comes on the heels of an unusual meeting Saturday morning called so the Town Council could appoint someone to serve as acting fire chief while Chief Russell McGillivray was out on a two-week medical leave. No one was listed on the agenda and rumors had circulated that someone from outside of the department would be named. In the end, Corrigan recommended senior fire Captain Thomas Mears to fill in, just as McGillivray had done.
Saturday night, Perry received an email from Corrigan alerting him that his brother, a former Coventry firefighter who was hired by the EGFD last year, was fired.
On Tuesday, Perry’s wife, an employee of the town’s finance office, was laid off.
Chief of Staff Michaela Antunes said Tuesday there would be no comment about either action because they were personnel issues.
The meeting June 12 was held at the request of Perry, who wanted to discuss the comments made by then-consultant Gayle Corrigan during a presentation to the Town Council June 5. Perry said Corrigan’s presentation included misinformation about the fire department. In addition to Perry and Cienki, the meeting including then-Town Manager Tom Coyle, Fire Chief Russell McGillivray, Town Councilman Sean Todd and firefighter Michael Jones (a member of the firefighters executive board).
An investigation into the complaint was conducted by Town Solicitor David D’Agostino, who interviewed the people who were at the meeting. The allegations were not disputed.
A request to Cienki for a comment was not answered Tuesday night.
Perry said he is considering legal action against the town.
– Elizabeth F. McNamara