Bill Looks to Adjust Requirements for New York State Firefighters Memorial


Newsday, Melville, N.Y.

Posted: Thu, 04/22/2010 - 09:29
Updated: Thu, 04/22/2010 - 09:41
The committee that has denied Malverne firefighter Paul Brady a place on the state Fallen Firefighters Memorial would lose its authority to make such decisions under state legislation submitted Wednesday by Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach).

Weisenberg's proposal would allow on the wall the name of any firefighter recognized as killed in the line of duty by the state Workers' Compensation Board, the U.S. Department of Justice, the state Office of Fire Prevention or the Fireman's Association of the State of New York.

"Everybody's in favor of this thing except these geniuses making this decision," Weisenberg said. "I'm not going to let them get away with this."

State Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos, of Rockville Centre, plans to introduce the bill in the Senate, spokesman Scott Reif said.

Brady, 42, died in 2006 when he was crushed between the roof of a fire truck and a beam in the fire house ceiling when a fellow firefighter, who did not know Brady was conducting a maintenance check atop the truck, drove it out of the bay.

On Monday, the memorial committee refused to reconsider a petition to add Brady's name to the wall, which is located near the State Capitol in Albany. It marked the board's fourth rejection of Brady's cause.

Former Malverne Fire Chief William Ward said a coalition of firefighters is considering filing a lawsuit against the committee. There is no mechanism to appeal Monday's decision, he said.

Syracuse firefighter Edwin Cook Jr., representing the New York State Professional Firefighters Association, voted against Brady on Monday. In an interview Wednesday, Cook said adding Brady's name would "cheapen" the sacrifice others have made.

"It waters down the names on there," he said. "We have guys who have jumped out of third-story windows. Does he belong on the same wall as a guy who was doing routine maintenance on a rig? No."

Joel Berkin, a spokesman for deputy state fire administrator, who also voted against including Brady on the wall, declined to comment on Weisenberg's proposal.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service