Groveland fire chief resigns
He denies alleged mismanagement
Robert Lay joined the Fire Department in 1973 and rose through the ranks. (Groveland Fire Department)
By Linda Greenstein
Globe Correspondent

Groveland Fire Chief Robert Lay, who has been on paid administrative leave amid allegations of insubordination and mismanagement, has agreed to step down.

Denise M. Dembkoski, Groveland’s finance and personnel director, released a statement following Lay’s meeting with the Board of Selectmen on Feb. 14.

“Chief Robert Lay and the Board of Selectmen executed an employment settlement agreement whereby Chief Lay agreed to resign his employment effective on March 30, 2018. Between now and March 30, Chief Lay will continue on a paid leave status as the board voted on Jan. 18, 2018. The terms of Chief Lay’s administrative leave shall remain unchanged during this additional leave period.’’

Assistant Chief Kurt Ruchala will continue to handle the day-to-day operations of the Fire Department until selectmen develop a plan to find a replacement for Lay.

The town is alleging Lay failed to notify officials that the full cost of his health insurance was not being deducted from his paycheck for more than two years. Dembkoski previously stated the issue was “not a criminal matter.’’

Efforts to reach Lay were unsuccessful. In an interview after his administrative leave was announced, he said “I don’t check my paystubs. To suggest that I knew that the amount of health insurance costs withdrawn from my paycheck was incorrect is absolutely false. To be clear, there was no insubordination or mismanagement of department funds.’’

A lifelong Groveland resident, Lay, 64, joined the department in 1973, rising through the ranks to become part-time chief in 2013.

Linda Greenstein can be reached at