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State Board Clears Weinburgh; Former Firefighter Keeps Pension

State Board Clears Weinburgh; Former Firefighter Keeps Pension

Paul A. Weinburgh taking part in this summer’s Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge in downtown Haverhill. His participation led to a complaint being filed with the state.

Former Haverhill firefighter Paul A. Weinburgh remains “unable to perform the essential duties” required of a firefighter and will continue to receive his disability pension, a state review board has ruled.

Weinburgh, 50, was the subject of a complaint this summer when he participated in a Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge in downtown Haverhill despite receiving a disability pension. Without discussing specifics, the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) revealed its findings in a letter to Weinburgh and the Haverhill Retirement Board.

“I chose to take that risk,” Weinburgh told WHAV Tuesday, explaining why he participated in the challenge. “I don’t want to sit on the couch. I’m half the athlete I was,” He said physicians forced him into retirement because his high risk of bleeding is a “liability to the fire department.” He noted he has a metal filter in his chest and is susceptible to bleeding because he takes the blood thinning medicine Coumadin for blood clots. He explained he was injured on the job in 2010 and four resulting surgeries left him with a blood clot on his lung.

Weinburgh said state officials made their recent decision based on his medical records alone and without a formal hearing. He said he is used to hearing allegations, but it troubles him when his children and grandchildren hear such claims.

“My kids get upset…‘My dad would never do something like that,’” he said. “This will never stop.”

Firefighter Says He Will Remain Active

Former Haverhill firefighter Paul A. Weinburgh says he tries to remain active despite his disability.

Former Haverhill firefighter Paul A. Weinburgh says he tries to remain active despite his disability.

Weinburgh said he will continue to remain active—at least as much as his health will allow. For example, he said, he recently trained six Haverhill police officers to compete in the Firefighters Combat Challenge National Championship that took place Oct. 7 and 8, in Reno, Nev. Haverhill was the first police department in 25 years to participate. Officers included Shawn O’Brien, Christopher Pagliura, Jared Brady, John Little and Nicole Donnelly.

The firefighter was hired in 1997 and was a former president of Haverhill Firefighters Local 1011. Weinburgh contends attacks on him are political and retaliation for his role in suing the city for harassment a decade ago. In that case, he complained the city was bypassing Haverhill residents and hiring New Hampshire people as firefighters contrary to the city’s residency requirements. He said he received a $90,000 cash settlement in 2008 or 2009 after filing a federal suit against the city and then-Fire Chief Richard B. Borden.

It is unknown who filed the complaint with PERAC. “It is not our practice to discuss the source of referrals that we receive nor the action that we may undertake in response,” John W. Parsons, PERAC general counsel, told WHAV.

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Published at Wed, 02 Nov 2016 04:49:01 +0000