Peekskill volunteer firefighters file suit against city, saying they are being pushed out
Volunteer firefighters in Peekskill are filing a lawsuit against the city, saying they're being pushed out.
A flyer that has been circulated alleges that Peekskill is trying to dissolve the volunteer part of the fire department.
However, the Peekskill mayor says that is absolutely not true.
They say the city is simply making the fire chief role, which has historically been a volunteer role - a full-time, paid position.
The city says a staff chief can better supervise the department - whereas volunteer chiefs have other full-time jobs and priorities. It says its plan to change the chief role is to gain more volunteers, not dissolve them.
"Removing of the fire chief, which has always been a volunteer for the 200 years this department has been in place, is a very big step toward dissolving the fire department," says Peekskill volunteer firefighter Jim Pappas.
"We've had a shortage in recruitment, so with new management in the actual fire department, this will help command the actual career guys as well as recruit volunteers," says Peekskill Mayor Andre Rainey.
Peekskill has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which is pending before the Westchester County Supreme Court.
The Peekskill Fire Department has six full-time, paid firefighters - and more than 50 volunteers.