SOUTH PORTLAND — A longtime city employee was suspended for a week without pay after he was videotaped applying salt to the driveway at his home in Scarborough using a Fire Department service truck.

A still from video taken Feb. 21 shows where South Portland employee Ronald Doucette used a city vehicle to spread salt on his Scarborough driveway.

Ronald Doucette was a firefighter for 35 years and has held a part-time maintenance position with the department since he retired in 2005, city officials said Friday.

Doucette was videotaped on Feb. 21 applying salt to his driveway at 2 Powderhorn Drive, off Pleasant Hill Road, just over the city line. He shares the home with his wife, Patricia Doucette, who was the city’s code enforcement officer for 35 years before she retired in February 2017.

Ronald Doucette routinely uses the truck to carry out various official duties, such as plowing snow and applying salt to paved areas around the department’s five fire stations, Fire Chief James Wilson wrote in a letter to Human Resources Director Stephanie Weaver.

Doucette was videotaped by a neighbor, who declined to be identified publicly but said he had seen the truck at Doucette’s house on a number of occasions and had seen it used to apply salt on at least one other occasion, Wilson wrote in the letter dated Feb. 25.

“When confronted with the (video), Mr. Doucette did not deny that this was indeed him and that it was his house in question,” Wilson wrote. “He declined the offer to see the video or the additional information. He admitted it was a mistake to do this and that he had only done this two or three times.”

The Forecaster reported Friday that the video “clearly shows a city truck clearing and salting” Doucette’s driveway, but City Manager Scott Morelli said the tape only shows salt being applied.

Wilson noted that Doucette accepted responsibility for violating a city policy that prohibits municipal employees from using city equipment or property for personal interests. Doucette also agreed to the discipline suggested by the city and indicated he didn’t intend to appeal the decision or ask for a hearing.

Doucette couldn’t be reached for comment Friday. Weaver said he works 20 hours per week and is paid $20 per hour, earning about $20,000 per year, so he’ll be docked $400 during his suspension.

Wilson described Doucette as an otherwise “reliable employee,” whose performance has been rated repeatedly as “outstanding” or “exceptional.”

“Mr. Doucette routinely takes on additional tasks above his normal duties and is a valuable asset to the city, providing services that would otherwise require outside contracting at a greater cost and delay in services,” Wilson wrote.

Still, Wilson concluded that Doucette’s actions were a clear violation of municipal policy that warrant a one-week suspension without pay, a punishment in line with previous similar violations.

“Not only is this an issue of improper use of city resources for personal gain, it has the significant effect of damaging public trust of the Fire Department,” Wilson wrote. “The Fire Department does not condone these actions, which is why it is paramount that our response needs to equal these concerns.”

Morelli said Friday that he has instructed municipal department heads to review city policies with staff members and warned that any misuse of city property in the future will be grounds for discipline, including termination.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: KelleyBouchard


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