An apology to Gerald Alston and commitment to do better

Petitioner: Mike Offner, TMM12

Annual Town Meeting, May 2019

The purpose of this article is, in part, to acknowledge the findings of the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission decision issued on February 14, 2019, in the case of Alston, Gerald v. Town of Brookline, which can be found within:

The purpose of this article is also to promote healing, reconciliation, self-reflection, peace, and forgiveness throughout our community and to help to bring forward-looking, community-building, optimistic closure to a painful part of our history.

Official Town Meeting Vote Select Board Advisory Board

Favorable Action

No Action

No Action




Final Result:

Favorable Action

Community Organization Recommendations
PAX Green Caucus
Official Text of the Article


WHEREAS, regarding the termination of Brookline firefighter Gerald Alston, the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission has declared, "The Town's own actions and inactions were the reasons that made it impossible for Firefighter Alston to return to work, which formed the basis of the Town's decision to terminate his employment";

WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission has declared, "When a municipality's own violation of a tenured employee's rights has prevented the employee from returning to work, as here, the Town cannot use that inability to work as just cause for discharging the employee from his tenured position";

WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission has declared that use of a racial epithet, "coupled with subsequent actions and inactions by Town officials at all levels, which compounded the racist comment into an avalanche of unfair, arbitrary, capricious and retaliatory behavior that infringed on Firefighter Alston's civil service rights, made it impossible for him to perform his job as a Brookline firefighter";

WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission has declared, "the Town of Brookline has failed to show just cause for terminating Gerald Alston from employment;"

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED, the Town of Brookline apologizes to Gerald Alston for any and all pain and suffering he has experienced as a result of his employment as a Brookline firefighter and as a result of his termination from that position; and further, the Town of Brookline endeavors to engage in serious introspection, reflection, and open dialogue so that no employee or resident of Brookline, or any person passing through Brookline for any amount of time, shall ever again have to experience anything like that which Mr. Alston has gone through.…