Related: Delray Beach: Investigation doesn’t support allegations against city manager

By Anne Geggis

One day after an investigation found no evidence that the city manager inappropriately touched him, Delray Beach Fire Rescue Chief Keith Tomey was terminated from his position for “willful, insubordinate behavior” in numerous incidents “effective immediately.”

12438218696?profile=RESIZE_400xThe firing came in a Wednesday letter from City Manager Terrence Moore ending Tomey’s seven years of employment with the city. 

The letter chiefly details Tomey’s decision to allow on-duty firefighters to participate in the annual Guns and Hoses softball game last November, weakening the city’s readiness to respond to an emergency, according to another investigative report that was issued in March. That report came out as Tomey’s allegations of inappropriate touching from the city manager surfaced.

Kevin Green, who has been with the city’s Fire Rescue since 2012, will serve as interim Delray Beach Fire Rescue chief, according to a city spokeswoman.

Neither Tomey nor the attorney who sent the letter making the allegations against the city manager immediately returned a call seeking comment Wednesday.

The allegations that Tomey made about the city manager were not cited in the firing letter. The conclusion of the softball tournament investigation appears to be the final impetus for the city to sever Tomey’s city employment.

“Your poor decision making could have endangered the lives of our residents and the public and created a risk of liability to the city,” Moore wrote, citing how Tomey took an engine out of service for the game and authorized overtime hours for city firefighters.

The report did say, however, no specific city policies were violated in Tomey’s involvement in the softball game.

The investigation started when a firefighter in the game was injured and filed a workers compensation claim. But Tomey had alleged in his complaint about the city manager that the investigation into the charity softball game was part of a pattern of retaliation Moore began after Tomey rebuffed his sexual advances as the two drove to and from an exhibition of city employee art, including Moore’s, at the Arts Garage. He said that Moore “rubbed up his thigh and just briefly made contact with his groin area,” according to a third-party investigator‘s telling of Tomey’s allegations that the investigator the city hired deemed “unsustained.”

Moore notes that it wasn’t just him that noticed Tomey’s attitude about city resources and official duties.

“The investigator (into the softball tournament episode) remarked in his report your cavalier attitude regarding these serious concerns, something that I, too, have witnessed in my interactions with you when forced to address your issues in management, fiscal responsibility and accountability,” Moore wrote.

Tomey’s five-day suspension for failing to follow city policy after a Broward County accident in October 2022 involving his city vehicle was also included in Tomey’s contention he was being retaliated against. But city policy requires employees to take a drug test immediately following an accident whether they are at fault or not, which Tomey did not do until three days after the accident, Moore said in the letter. And Moore did not hear about the wreck until he received a request to approve a rental for Tomey.  

“I recall that during that disciplinary procedure you refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing …” Moore wrote. “This appears to be a pattern of willful, insubordinate behavior coupled with poor decision making that despite repeated counseling and a five-day suspension, has worsened.”

Moore cited another incident that Tomey did not say was part of the retaliation that he was subjected to because he did not respond to Moore’s alleged inappropriate touching. Tomey, in July 2022, distributed a memorandum that went to fire rescue personnel that disclosed the medical condition of an employee. The employee made a claim and the city had to pay $25,000 to settle the claim, Moore said.

Tomey's termination is effective immediately, according to the letter, and his health benefits will continue through May. Tomey's departure does not involve a financial settlement, a city spokeswoman said.

Since he was terminated "not in good standing," there are no payouts, the spokeswoman said. Tomey had been earning an annual salary of $179,587.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Tomey's length of employment with the city. He was hired in December 2016.

 

 

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