NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) -- A man who was trying to become the first African-American on the New London fire department in 35 years says he feels vindicated.
A state report is calling into question his dismissal, a dismissal that has been the center of controversy for months.
34-year-old Alfred Mayo was the first African-American to be hired by the city of New London for the fire department in nearly 35 years, but he was fired just days before his graduation from the state fire academy. Now an investigation concludes it was done for very questionable reasons.
"They messed this man's life up, they messed his name up, for some bull, because that's what it was, pure bull," said Rep. Ernest Hewett from New London.
The author of the report says the most glaring problem with Mayo's dismissal is that a white male recruit, who was accused of cheating, graduated and was hired while Mayo was fired for what appears to be minor and very disputable issues.
"So you have a situation where a white male, who was accused of things far more serious than Al Mayo walked with graduation whereas Al Mayo was pulled from the class. So that, of course is a matter of concern," said Steven Spellman from the Department of Emergency Services.
"The record doesn't demonstrate that this individual should have been treated that way," said Governor Dannel Malloy.
While not using the discrimination word, the Governor said that the summary he has read indicates that Mayo was the subject of inappropriate communications from the academy and may have been improperly refused employment by New London.
"He appears to be eligible for employment and that in all probability communications took place that shouldn't have taken place," Malloy said.
Mayo told News 8 that he now feels vindicated and is hopeful he will eventually end up on the New London Fire Department.
"I hope so, that was ultimately my goal was to get the job that I worked hard for, and that's ultimately my goal," Mayo said.
But it is not over. New London Mayor Daryl Finizio telling News 8, "I welcome the report. This does clarify certain issues, [but] he needs a valid driver's license and he has a case pending that may place his driver's license in jeopardy. I will wait until that case is disposed."
Mayo's attorney confirms that he has a court date on a moving motor vehicle violation scheduled next month.
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