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Thread: Mayor Backs Union in Tiff with Bravest Kin

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Mayor Backs Union in Tiff with Bravest Kin

    Mayor Backs Union in Tiff with Bravest Kin

    By NEIL GRAVES and KIRSTEN DANIS
    Courtesy of The New York Post


    The Uniformed Firefighters Association got a nod of approval from Mayor Bloomberg yesterday in its face-off with relatives of fallen 9/11 heroes who feel they are wrongly being denied their share of the union's multimillion-dollar Widows and Children's fund. "It's their [the union's] money," the mayor said yesterday at a Waldorf-Astoria function. "Eliot Spitzer, the state attorney general, supervises charities and makes sure it's done within the law."

    The union wants to reinvest large portions of the millions donated to the fund since Sept. 11 - but parents whose unmarried sons died in action say they are being cut out of any fund distribution.

    Bloomberg, nonetheless, called it "admirable" that the UFA wants to hold on to some money to help families of firefighters who died in the past or may die in the future.

    "It's up to the UFA, as long as it's compliant with the law," Bloomberg said. "It's their organization."

    The UFA's plan has widows and children of fallen firemen receiving $20,000 up front, then $3,000 annually to each widow and child until the offspring reaches age 24. Then the child would receive a final $50,000 payment.

    Spitzer has agreed to review the complaint.

    An opposing group of relatives, largely mothers of unmarried firefighters, protested against the UFA at a Midtown press conference, claiming their sons should also be honored with payments.

    "It's a matter of standing up for your son's rights," said Dee Ragusa, whose son Michael, of Engine Co. 279, died on Sept. 11. "Since he is not here to do it for himself, we're here to do it for him."

    Ragusa is part of a group of about 74 families represented by Randy Mastro, former deputy mayor during the Giuliani administration. There are 97 families overall, of the 343 total firefighters who died at the World Trade Center, who "will not receive a dime" from the Widows and Orphans Fund, according to Mastro.

    Calling it "a sad day" that firefighters were opposing each other, Mastro said his group wants most of the money disbursed.

    In a statement, the UFA said that it has distributed $155 million of $210 million collected for various of its funds since Sept. 11, mostly to firefighter families - including parents of lost single firefighters .

    "The UFA has always distributed monies from its charitable fund in a prompt, evenhanded and appropriate manner," the statement said. "We continue to do so ."


    http://www.firehouse.com/news/2002/5/10_Pfundfeud.html

  2. #2
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    Business as usual?

    Business as usual?

  3. #3
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
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    emotions are high.
    as the cloud of shock lifts, questions are starting to be asked. much like waking from a coma.... "what happened?"

    The UFA, from all accounts so far, has been very good with their handling of funds, and responsibly looking forward to the future. They should be commended.

    I'm sure the differences among the families and the union will be worked out over time.

    Not many charities run as effeciently as the UFA's Widow's and Children's Fund. Imagine a mostly all volunteer organization, managing that needs to be managed during this time. Meanwhile, other charities might have high paid managers. Now, of course, that is not to say that those managers should not be paid. On the contrary, the managers should be paid what they are worth. But, in contrast, it points out how incredible the UFA fund is, with all the volunteers.

    Give it time... firefighters always do the 'right thing'.
    Brian Shea
    Co-Director of Fallen Brothers Foundation
    (foundation charity dissolved 2006)

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