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Monday, May 19, 2014

Removal of volunteer officers and volunteer members of a volunteer fire department


Removal of volunteer officers and volunteer members of a volunteer fire department
2014 NY Slip Op 03521, Appellate Division, Second Department

The Board of Fire Commissioners expelled a member of the Fire Department. The member sued and Supreme Court annulled the Board’s determination and remitting the matter for a hearing and a new determination.*  thereafter, and the petitioner cross-appeals from so much of the order as failed to grant the petition in its entirety.

The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s ruling, explaining that as the member was entitled to a hearing “upon due notice and upon stated charge” under General Municipal Law §209-l but was not afforded one, “the Supreme Court properly annulled the determination and remitted the matter for a hearing and a new determination thereafter.”

GML §209-l addresses the removal of volunteer officers and volunteer members of volunteer fire departments and, in pertinent part, provides:

1. The authorities having control of fire departments of cities, towns, villages and fire districts may make regulations governing the removal of volunteer officers and volunteer members of such departments and the companies thereof.

2. Such officers and members of such departments and companies shall not be removed from office, or membership, as the case may be, by such authorities or by any other officer or body, except for incompetence or misconduct.**

3. Removals on the ground of incompetence or misconduct, except for absenteeism at fires or meetings, shall be made only after a hearing upon due notice and upon stated charges and with the right to such officer or member to a review pursuant to article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules. Such charges shall be in writing and may be made by any such authority. The burden of proving incompetency or misconduct shall be upon the person alleging the same.

* On a procedural note, in this instance, “on the Court's own motion,” the notice of appeal and the notice of cross appeal from the [Supreme Court’s] order was deemed to be applications for leave to appeal, and cross-appeal, respectively, and leave to appeal and cross-appeal is granted


** N.B. §209-l, however, further provides that  “The    provisions of this section shall not affect the right of members of any fire company to remove a volunteer officer or voluntary member of such company for failure to comply with the constitution and by-laws of such company.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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The Discipline Book, - A concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public employees in New York State set out in a 2100+ page e-book. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5215.html
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Handbooks focusing on New York State and Municipal Public Personnel Law:

The Discipline Book, - a concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public employees in New York State. A 1900+ page e-book. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5215.html

The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual - a 435 page handbook reviewing the relevant laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5216.html

A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances - A 600+ page guide to penalties imposed on public employees in New York State found guilty of selected acts of misconduct. For more information, click on http://booklocker.com/books/7401.html

General Municipal Law§§ 207-a and 207-c - Disability Leave for fire, police and other public sector personnel - a 1098 page e-book focusing on administering General Municipal Law Sections 207-a/207-c and providing benefits thereunder. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/3916.html

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