News

Reminder for the Enhanced Cancer Benefit Program – Documents Due

December 4th, 2020

Click on this link to open the document:

Vol FF Enhanced Cancer Benefit Program 12_3_20 TDG

The 2021 Officers of the Capital Area Association

November 24th, 2020

Association of Fire Districts of the Capital Area 2021 Officers

President:                Tom Rinaldi, Commissioner Stillwater/Saratoga

1st VP:                      Jill Wiseman, Commissioner West Glenville/Schenectady

2nd VP:                     John Meehan, Commissioner West Crescent/Saratoga

All Directors have been nominated to retain their positions for another term:

Directors: Les Bonesteel Commissioner Burnt Hills/Saratoga, Tom Wood Commissioner Northumberland/Saratoga, Joyce Petkus Treasurer Greenfield/Saratoga, Ed Woehrle Commissioner Niskayuna #1/Schenectady and Mike Podolec Commissioner West Glenville/Schenectady

Secretary Treasurer    Tony Hill

Sargent at Arms     Tom Woods, Commissioner Northumberland Fire District/Saratoga County

Chaplain     Fred Richards, Commissioner Harmony Corners/Saratoga County

Legislation Suggested by Commissioner Signed by the Governor

November 24th, 2020

Audit Bill Signed, Suggested by Commissioner Truman Williams of the Trenton Joint Fire District in Oneida Co.

The Audit limit bill introduced this legislative session has been signed by the governor. This is effective immediately. So if you are over $300,000 for 2020 you will not have to have an audit in 2021 or any year after that as long as you stay under $400,000. Thank you to Assemblyman Smulle for his initial meeting and Poland Fire Districts; Bill Inman for writing up the case study. Thank you, Assemblywomen Buttenshoen and Senator Joe Griffo for their assistance with this. A huge shout out to Past President of Fire Districts Tom Rinaldi and the Fire District lobbyist Todd Vandervort for pushing this across the finish line.

What is the Civil Service Status of a Secretary to the Fire District??

September 20th, 2020

Section 35 of the Civil Service Law provides in relevant part, as follows:

“The unclassified service shall comprise the following:

(c) all officers and employees of the state legislature, and all officers and employees of any other legislative body whose principal functions and duties are directly related to the performance of the legislative functions of such body.”

Under this standard, if fire district boards of commissioners are considered legislative bodies, the fire district secretary, as a fire district officer whose principal duties relate closely to the commissioners’ functions, would fall within the unclassified service.  The question then becomes whether the board of fire commissioners is to be considered a legislative body for purposes of the Civil Service Law.

It is well established that the unclassified service is not limited to employees of the State Legislature, but includes employees of the legislative bodies of civil subdivisions of the State and Fire districts are considered political subdivisions of the State.  Fire Districts fall under the category of “district corporation” which is defined in the following way:

A ‘district corporation’ includes any territorial division of the state, other than a municipal corporation, heretofore or hereafter established by law which possesses the power to contract indebtedness and levy taxes or benefit assessments upon real estate or to require the levy of such taxes or assessments, whether or not such territorial division is expressly declared to be a body corporate and politic by the statute creating or authorizing the creation of such territorial division.

Fire district commissioners are elected by residents of the fire district pursuant to section 175 of the Town Law. The powers and duties of a fire district fire commissioners are set forth in section 176 of the Town Law. Among these is the power to organize, operate, maintain and equip fire companies; to adopt rules governing all fire companies and fire departments throughout the district, and prescribing the duties of the members; to enforce discipline and provide for public drills, parades, funerals, inspections and reviews of the fire district fire department; and to audit all claims against the fire district.  Thus, the commissioners are the sole governing body of the fire district, responsible for the determination of fire department policy. They exercise their powers separately and discretely from the town board. In our opinion, these functions make the board of fire commissioners a legislative body for purposes of section 35 of the Civil Service Law.

The fire district secretary actively participates in the commissioner’s legislative functions, thus in the opinion of the NYS Attorney General, the secretary’s principal functions and duties relate to the legislative functions of the commissioners, placing the secretary in the unclassified service within the meaning of section 35 of the Civil Service Law.

Accordingly, we conclude that fire district secretary is a member of the unclassified civil service.

Looking for Members to Return

June 21st, 2020
  • The Capital Area can appreciate that it has been a very distracting year and we would like to remind some of our usual members that their dues have not been sent in yet; East Glenville #3, Elsmere, Glenville #5, Halfmoon FD #1, Hoosic Falls Joint Fire Dist., Perth, & Rotterdam #6.  We would like to see you join for 2020.

Cleaning and Disinfecting 3M Scott Facepieces

March 27th, 2020

See the information provided by Scott:  CleaningandDisinfectingScott

Will VFBL Cover a COVID19 Exposure?

March 13th, 2020
  • In addition to other sources the Saratoga County self-insurance program; VFBL and VAWBL will be covering confirmed (“documented”) covid19 exposures, all claims should be thoroughly investigated and documented.  The issue of indemnity payments for individuals quarantined is an interesting one. They further stated that if the quarantined period is directed by the employer without confirmation that the virus is present or if the virus is present the exposure will need to be confirmed to determine compensability.  That issue will require further investigation. 
  • Check with your provider!!

Health Care Provider’s Guide to Firefighter Physicals

February 13th, 2020

This is an excellent resource from the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

5594-11591 Other Health Care Providers Guide 2019

OFPC Cancer Awareness Video & Decon Information

January 21st, 2020

Amendments to the Cancer Benefit Program Signed by the Governor

January 1st, 2020

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill amends subparagraph (ii) of paragraph a of subdivision 1 of section 205-cc of the general municipal law to clarify that
the an interior firefighter eligible for the program may submit alternative documentation as determined by the office of fire prevention and
control

Section 2 states that this act shall take effect immediately and shall expire and be deemed repealed 10 years after such date.

New Subsection 8. In the absence of the documentation required in paragraph a of subdivision one of this section, the volunteer firefighter shall be eligible if they submit alternative documentation as determined by the office of fire prevention and control. The office of fire prevention and control shall promulgate rules and regulations as to an acceptable combination of alternative documentation and such documentation shall include, but not be limited to, training records, documentation that the firefighter was an active interior volunteer firefighter as evidenced by National Fire Incident Reports submitted by the volunteer’s fire department, or any other combination of official documents capable of evidencing that the firefighter meets the requirements of this section.

Changes to the LOSAP Defined Contribution Program

November 14th, 2019

Governor Cuomo signed bill A07552 / S4207a into law – Chapter 474 of the laws of 2019 – which increases the maximum allowable Defined Contribution (DC) benefit in New York State from $700 to $1,200. This does not impact those municipalities that sponsor a Defined Benefit (DB) plan – those benefits remain unchanged.
For a municipality that sponsors a DC plan to increase the contribution for its LOSAP, it must approve the increase by resolution of the governing board, then seek voter approval of the increase in a mandatory referendum. The amendment would be effective the January 1st following the date of the referendum.
The earliest a sponsor could make this effective is January 1, 2020; and that’s only if the sponsor were able to hold the referendum on or before December 31, 2019.
Note that a sponsor does not have to go straight to $1,200 but could instead select a smaller amount. In the past, some sponsors implemented a step-up in the contribution over a period of time – say to $950 effective January 1, 2020 and then to $1,200 effective January 1, 2021.
Typically, this type of amendment is administered such that the increased contribution is earned based on service credit accrued after the effective date. In other words, if an increase from $700 to $1,200 was effective January 1, 2020, then service credit earned in 2020 would result in the volunteer being credited with a $1,200 contribution to his/her account in 2021. The 2019 service credit year would remain at the $700 level. This also means that the municipal budget is not increased until 2021 (assuming a calendar year fiscal year). You are encouraged you to check with your attorney if an alternative interpretation can be made, especially for Villages that likely do not have a scheduled election until March 2020.

Interesting White Paper on the use of ISO Ratings on North Monterey County California

November 10th, 2019

This white paper includes some interesting finds on the use of ISO ratings and the impacts or lack thereof on your fire department!!
ISO Ratings by Insurance Companies