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Paramedic who held 2 jobs stays at Massport

Richard G. Covino, the city of Boston paramedic who also worked full time as a Massachusetts Port Authority fire lieutenant, resigned his city job this week, but will retain his position at Massport, where the compensation is higher and the workload less demanding.

Covino, who had been on unpaid medical leave from both positions since last August, had been making an average of $200,000 a year by juggling both positions and working substantial overtime shifts.

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Last April, both Massport and Boston’s Emergency Medical Services suspended Covino after a Globe examination of his work schedules turned up instances in which he was being paid for being at both jobs at the same time.

At the time, EMS chief James W. Hooley said he had been unaware that Covino had a second full-time public safety position. Massport Fire Chief Robert Donahue said he had assumed when he hired Covino in 2006 that he was going to leave his EMS position.

Both agencies reinstated him, with Massport docking him five weeks pay. Both also put restrictions on his ability to trade shifts with co-workers. The restrictions were designed to make it impossible for Covino to retain both jobs. Even so, Covino managed to juggle both jobs for the next three months, taking vacation days and sick time when the two work schedules coincided. On Aug. 18, he took a leave of absence from both agencies.

Jennifer Mehigan, the Boston EMS spokeswoman, confirmed that Covino handed in his letter of resignation Monday. Covino, who is 51, had been an EMS employee since 1984. Matt Brelis, the Massport spokesman, said Covino returned to duty this week and is going through a retraining period because of the length of his absence.

The disclosure that Covino had two full-time public safety jobs and that neither agency had a policy prohibiting such a practice, proved embarrassing to both departments. The Massport Fire Department now requires any newly hired firefighter to provide a copy of a resignation letter from his or her prior public safety employer.

At Boston EMS, Mehigan said, Hooley has proposed some restrictions on outside employment, but they are under discussion with the union.

Covino’s decision to keep the Massport job was not unexpected. His base salary, after 28 years with EMS, is $75,653 a year. At Massport, it is $84,115, with greater opportunities for overtime pay.

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