UTICA, NY — The New York State Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the City of Utica, after they were sued by a former firefighter for back pay.
In September of 2019, Richard Forte was convicted of criminal mischief and criminal tampering for performing a lewd act against a female firefighter, after she found bodily fluids on her uniform pants that were stored at the station.
“The City of Utica has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and we made the right decision in terminating Mr. Forte. I am pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling as the city taxpayers should not have to compensate individuals who engage in egregious and inappropriate behavior,” said Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri.
Forte was suspended without pay in January of 2018, and subsequently fired by the city in April of 2019.
The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 32 union appealed Forte’s termination, but the court ruled in the city’s favor.
The union sued the city again, requesting Forte be paid nearly $30,000 for the time he was on suspension.
The city claimed that Forte was not entitled to be paid for that time period because he caused the delays in the court proceedings.
The court unanimously agreed that the city does not owe Forte for the time he was suspended.
Forte was sentenced to 60 days in the Oneida County jail after his conviction.