Michael Farrell, a paid fire captain in Waterbury who was charged with larceny after responding to volunteer fire calls in Avon while out on injury leave, has been fired by the Waterbury Fire Department.
The Waterbury Republican American reported that Farrell was fired last week following his Sept. 7 arrest on charges of first-degree largency and fraudulent receipt of benefit. Waterbury says Farrell received almost $20,000 in fraudulent disability pay, the newspaper reported.
Farrell will also be leaving his volunteer position with Avon's fire department. At Tuesday's Avon Volunteer Fire Department Board of Director's meeting, members debated which should come first — voting on ratifying Farrell's expulsion, or acting on his written request to be designated as retired.
The board voted to postpone a decision on ratifying his expulsion until the next meeting, but recommended that the department accept his retirement offer, sending it to the members to ultimately decide.
Farrell, who has been a regular member at the Avon department since 1983, is also chairman of the Avon Water Pollution Control Authority.
Farrell is facing felony charges of workers' compensation fraud and larceny after Waterbury police learned that he responded to some fire calls in Avon and taught Connecticut Fire Academy training classes while on paid injury leave from the Waterbury Fire Department, according to a court affidavit. Between March and July, before his Sept. 7 arrest, he collected about $19,558 in workers' compensation for his full-time Waterbury job. His next court date is Oct. 15.
A department review committee recently recommended expelling Farrell. That was after he was suspended twice in the last five years — in June 2012 after responding to calls while on medical leave in Avon and October 2008 for an inappropriate comment made to two female department members in 2006. He went on injury leave in Waterbury and medical leave in Avon on March 20 and, according to a court affidavit, was not supposed to be responding to fire calls due to a back injury.
According to Avon fire department policy, any member suspended twice in five years can be considered for expulsion.