The former parks and recreation director of Saco has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city.
Joseph Hirsch worked for the city for 25 years, including 13 as the department head. His complaint, filed Tuesday in York County Superior Court, says the city abruptly forced him to retire in October 2017 without giving him any notice or opportunity to defend himself as required by law.
He also says he was accused of violating the city’s computer policy, but that allegation was false – and that a misdemeanor charge of criminal invasion of privacy was later dismissed.
“It shouldn’t go down like that,” Hirsch, 66, said in an interview Tuesday. “It shouldn’t happen like that. A person should actually be allowed to present their whole side of the story.”
Attorneys Shelby Leighton and David Webbert, who are representing Hirsch, said the city did not follow procedures that are legally required when firing a public employee, such as holding a hearing to present evidence of any wrongdoing.
“The Constitution guarantees to public employees like Joe the basic rights to due process, just cause and not having their reputations unfairly smeared,” Webbert said.
The lawsuit asks the court to order the city to reinstate Hirsch to his position and award him back pay and other financial compensation. It also asks the city to provide training to city employees on due process and other laws that govern the removal of municipal employees.
Read the full Portland Press Herald article here.
Read the full Bangor Daily News article here.
Read the full Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier article here.