A town manager has removed the current Maine fire chief from his position and left the veteran firefighter with the option of legal action. Skowhegan Fire Chief Tom Keene is shocked by the decision and currently considering his options. The firefighter had been on medical leave after having his legs amputated, but he planned to return to work.
Skowhegan Fire Chief Tom Keene is not pleased with the town manager’s decision to let him go, according to the Kennebec Journal. The veteran firefighter shares he is disappointed and may get a lawyer to fight back. He had already been making plans to return to work before he was made aware of the sudden decision.
Tom Keene has diabetes and had to have his legs amputated due to complications related to the disease. Despite this serious setback, he remained positive during his medical leave and wanted to return to work. Several weeks ago, he made his superiors aware of his doctor’s approval to let him come to back work, but their response was not what he expected.
The fire chief would have been limited in his duties, but his doctor approved his return to work in administrative areas. Town Manager John Doucette Jr. said that Tom Keene could no longer perform the work of a fire chief and had to be let go for this reason. Keene argues that he was getting ready to receive prosthetic legs and making significant progress in his rehabilitation.
The wife of Tom Keene is also unhappy with the decision and supports her husband’s suggestion of getting a lawyer involved. She points out that the situation could have been handled better because the fire chief had been on medical leave for several months. Losing his status as the fire chief will not be easy for Tom Keene who has spent 42 years working in the fire department. Before he was admitted to his last surgery several months ago, he believed he would be able to return.
In a new twist, Town Manager John Doucette Jr. has suddenly left his own position in the city without providing a clear explanation. Some have linked this surprising decision to the dismissal of Tom Keene, but the city has not confirmed it. John Doucette Jr. states it was a personal matter and had nothing to do with any of the work he has done for the city.
Image/video credit: http://wabi.tv/2013/10/08/skowhegan-firefighters-come-together-chief/