Firefighters Sue NY City Council Over Circumstances Surrounding Failed Pension Measure


The Uniformed Firefighters Association this week filed a lawsuit against the New York City Council in a bid to gain access to documents the union was previously unable to obtain through a public records request.

Earlier this year, the Council weighed a measure that would boost disability pensions for newly hired firefighters. But the Council voted down the measure before the UFA has a chance to debate the legislation.

From Capital New York:

According to U.F.A. president Steve Cassidy, the Council is refusing to honor a Freedom of Information Law request which the union filed to obtain details about a disability pension proposal first submitted by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley of Queens last year.

Specifically, Cassidy and the union allege that Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and her senior staff purposely kept the union from being able to debate the legislation or to obtain information about who introduced a competing proposal after Crowley’s version expired at the end of the legislative session last year.


The union backed a proposal to allow recently hired firefighters injured in the line of duty to retire on disability and collect 75 percent of their salary. Under a change in pension policy in 2009, firefighters (and police officers) hired after that year are eligible for a 50 percent pension if they are injured on the job. Mayor de Blasio opposed the proposal, although it had wide support in the Council. The change would have required the Council to send a home-rule message to Albany requesting the Legislature and governor to act on the proposal.

Mayor de Blasio supported a similar, but less generous, piece of legislation that would award larger disability pensions to new firefighters as long as they didn’t qualify for Social Security.

The Council passed that measure in June, but the legislation needs to be approved by state lawmakers before it passes into law.

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