After the state ruled she wasn't promoted because of gender, Methuen firefighter named captain

Methuen's first female firefighter has been promoted to captain after a state board ruled in her favor, saying that she was passed over for a promotion because of her gender and favoritism in the department.

City officials approved Tracy Blanchette's promotion to captain of Methuen Fire Department at the request of Fire Chief Tim Sheehy, The Eagle-Tribune reported Friday.

The promotion follows the Civil Service Commission's ruling in November that stated Blanchette was passed over for a promotion from private to captain because of her gender.

According to Blanchette and witnesses who testified before the commission, the department fostered an environment of “mutual back-scratching employment culture” among male firefighters.

The commission also ruled that Blanchette receive back pay at a captain's salary dating back to February 2019, when she was passed over for the promotion.

Blanchette also filed a sexual discrimination suit against the city in November 2020, seeking $2.75 million in damages, the newspaper reported.


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