Corruption With Boston Fireman’s Union Disability Claims

-By Warner Todd Huston

On August 6, the Boston Herald reported the good news that Boston’s Retirement Board finally turned down the disability retirement claim of a fireman that was filmed participating in a bodybuilding contest even as he claimed that permanent back injuries suffered on the job had ended his firefighting career. The Herald hoped this decision heralded the end of the constant corruption of the Retirement Board that had become “a virtual adjunct of the firefighters union.”

Perhaps there might be hope that the corrupt Retirement Board is reforming what with the retirement of executive officer Robert E. Tierney who is leaving under a cloud of suspicion of corruption — and may be jumping ship just ahead of charges being brought against him.

Hopeful the Herald wonders if the backlog of undecided disability cases will soon be addressed as soon to be former executive officer Tierney allowed nearly 100 cases to sit unaddressed. Conveniently for the firefighters who have filed their disability requests, they continue to receive their salaries tax-free while they await the decision of their cases.

Naturally, the denied firefighter (Albert Arroyo) will appeal the decision and will continue to get his salary tax-free while he awaits that decision. Not only that, but he will not be required to pay back his previous ill-gotten salary.

But let’s not get our hopes up. After all, cronyism still rules the day in the Boston Fire union. For instance, the union employs one Larry Curran as a lobbyist on Beacon Hill (the State Capitol). Curran is also currently the Chairman of the Retirement Board. As it happens Curran announced that he is not seeking re-election this year. It turns out that Boston Fire Union President Ed Kelly is running his own brother to fill Curran’s soon to be vacated seat.

Yes, cronyism is alive and well in the Boston Fire Union. So, I doubt we’ll be seeing the cozy relationship between the Fire Union and the Retirement Board clearing up anytime soon. Corruption has become a way of life, after all.


Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as,, New Media Journal, Men’s News Daily and the New Media Alliance among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

Copyright Publius Forum 2001