WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A former Wyoming firefighter fired last month because of his role with another fire department was also accused of misconduct, personnel files obtained by 24 Hour News 8 show.
Thomas Saladino was fired by the city last month over concerns surrounding his part-time work with the Jamestown Township Fire Department.
Just days later, he filed a lawsuit against the city and is now seeking $500,000 in damages.
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, 24 Hour News 8 obtained Saladino’s personnel file with the city of Wyoming.
The file outlines the reasons why he was fired, and includes details of an investigation into allegations of misconduct against Saladino.
It started in 2015 with an Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office investigation into Saladino and his financial practices as fire chief for Jamestown Township.
Firefighters who Saladino claims took issue with him accused him of getting paid for calls he shouldn’t have been paid for. In some cases, the Jamestown Township firefighters said the calls happened while Saladino was on the clock for the Wyoming.
An investigation found 190 discrepancies. In the end, all but five were explained away.
In some instances, Saladino’s son would wash fire trucks and mow the department’s lawn. Saladino would get paid for it and then pay back his son.
The Jamestown Township attorney and supervisor agreed that current payroll practices within the department needed to change, but ultimately no criminal charges were filed against Saladino.
The city of Wyoming launched their own internal investigation into Saladino in January. Soon after, Wyoming Public Safety Chief James Carmody denied Saladino’s request for dual employment as the Jamestown Township Fire Chief, in large part because of the concerns in the criminal investigation.
Saladino stepped down as fire chief, but was kept on board as a paid on-call firefighter. However, more issues arose in July.
The Jamestown Township supervisor said Saladino told him that he was transitioning back into the fire chief role and had been using the chief’s call sign on the radio.
The supervisor asked if Carmody had approved this, and Saladino allegedly said he was “good to go.”
But Carmody met with the township supervisor and explained that none of what Saladino had said was true. So, the city of Wyoming launched another internal investigation.
Officials said they discovered that Saladino had been getting paid an equivalent to the fire chief’s salary in Jamestown Township, despite being an on-call firefighter there.
The city also learned that Saladino was doing administrative work for the township that he wasn’t supposed to, and that he even met with the Jamestown Township interim fire chief despite a no-contact order issued during Wyoming’s investigation.
Not long after that, Saladino was fired.
Saladino had been the fire chief in Jamestown Township since 2009.
In the lawsuit he filed against the city, he claims his firing was partly because of his advocacy for Michigan’s “two-hatter” law. The law ensures that an employee of a fire department may seek part-time or paid on-call employment with another department, as long as it doesn’t conflict with his or her performance.
24 Hour News 8 left a message for Saladino Friday, but have not yet heard back.
In response to Saladino’s lawsuit, Wyoming city manager issued the following statement to 24 Hour News 8 last month:
“While we generally do not comment on pending litigation, we deny the allegations in the lawsuit brought by Mr. Saladino. We will vigorously defend the City and its representatives against these untrue claims.”