One of three female firefighters in a small Massachusetts city claims she was denied a promotion due to her gender and has filed a complaint with the state civil service commission.
Tracy Ouellette Blanchette, a quarter-century veteran of the Methuen Fire Department, was passed over for promotion to captain in favor of someone who scored lower on the exam.
“She has an impeccable record, replete with decorations including Firefighter of the Year,” her complaint read. “(Blanchette) is college educated, was an academy instructor for several years, has no discipline and had the most seniority of any of the candidates.”
Blanchette accused the city of favoritism and sexism, citing that the mayor has the final say in hiring and promoting city officials. She also believes that secret interviews between the two men helped determine the final decision.
“These interviews were not recorded either by video or audio,” Blanchette’s attorney wrote in the complaint. “The questions called for subjective answers, evaluated subjectively and widely different by the panel members.”
According to The Eagle-Tribune, Methuen has only 100 sworn firefighters and has never had a female captain.
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