Mark Bourget refused COVID vaccine or comply with weekly testing requirements
Town Manager Andy Nota said Friday Patrolman Mark Bourget was fired Thursday after he refused to comply with the town’s rule that all town employees must either get the COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing for the virus.
Bourget had been out on paid leave since last fall, after Nota implemented the COVID vaccinate or test policy. Out of approximately 150 full-time town employees, all but 9 got vaccinated. Of those nine, eight accepted the mask-and-test accommodation – Bourget did not. He continued to receive his pay because of protections afforded police officers through the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights.
Faced with a stalemate, the town moved to have the case presented to a three-person LEOBOR panel in December. The panel, made up of law enforcement peers, found by unanimous decision that Bourget had violated the EGPD’s rules and regulations, resulting in a charge of insubordination. Then, in a 2-1 ruling, the panel ruled Bourget should be terminated immediately, which was what the town had recommended.
The decision was released Wednesday (3/9) and Bourget was fired Thursday. He joined the force in November 2020 after 21 years with the East Providence police. He is also a member of the West Warwick Town Council.