03-22-2004, 10:47 AM #1
- Join Date
- Dec 2002
- Central, MA
LODD Firefighter Family needs your help
If anyone in the New England area can make it the family, freinds and fellow F/F brothers greatly appreciate it.
If you can't make it you can call the Lancaster, MA Town Hall to show your support at:
Subject: Marty McNamara's family and the Lancaster Firefighters' Assoc. Need Your Help!
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004 15:44:26 -0500
Marty McNamara’s family and the Lancaster Firefighters’ Assoc. Need Your Help!
To: All MC/VFA Members, Friends
From: Larry Holmberg, MC/VFA President
Subj: Survivor Benefits for Lancaster Firefighter Marty McNamara’s Family
The Lancaster Firefighters’ Association has asked for assistance from MC/VFA, its members, and friends. This Monday, March 22nd at 7:00 PM, the Town of Lancaster is holding a Special Town Meeting to offer Claire McNamara and her three very young children, a single $70,000 lump sum payment and 50 % of the family’s health insurance premiums. This is in addition to the one time federal and state death benefits and the town’s $30,000 life insurance policy which they are eligible to receive. The Town is not legally required to do these things, and we firefighters are thankful for the Town’s efforts, but they are not enough. At this meeting, members of the Lancaster Firefighters’ Association will move to amend the town meeting article to provide Claire and her children with an annual pension equal to 2/3rds of the annual salary of a first-year career firefighter in the local area. This is what a call member of a combo department would be eligible for.
I urge any available member/friend to come to this town meeting to lend support to Marty’s family and our brothers and sisters in Lancaster. Our members will be distributing educational flyers to the Lancaster voters before the meeting and our presence will be a show of our support and our way of asking the townspeople in Lancaster to do the right thing.
Please think about the McNamaras and what if you died in the line of duty. Would your family be able to survive on what this town is offering? Don’t let Lancaster’s offer set the precedent for what will be offered in future call/volunteer line-of-duty deaths by your inaction. Please come to Lancaster on Monday night.
Over 1,000 firefighters from all over the northeast showed up on a cold weekday in December to lay Marty to rest. Now it’s time to come together again and support Marty’s family and the Lancaster firefighters. We need to do what we can to make sure Marty’s family is provided for.
Please wear clothing identifying you as a firefighter (preferably with the name of your Dept.) such as a department sweatshirt or jacket and a hat or a fire helmet. Members should try to arrive by 5:45 PM and stage at the Lancaster Central Fire Station on Main Street (Route 70). This is close to the Intersection of Route 117 and is across the street from the school where the meeting will be held.
Thank you. Pass this on to other members in your department.
Directions to the staging area:
From the West: I-190 to Exit 7. Take Rte. 117 East into Lancaster. Turn right onto Rte. 70 South. Central Station is ¼ Mile on the left.
From the East: I-495 to Exit 27. Take Rte. 117 West through Bolton into Lancaster. Turn left onto Rte. 70 South. Central Station is ¼ Mile on the left.
03-22-2004, 11:55 AM #2
I do support the effort in Lancaster.
On a broader level, IMHO, a similiar benefit should be done by each state on a state-wide basis. There isn't so many Volunteer LODDs as to overwhelm a state budget, while just one could sink some small districts (Lancaster, while they'll notice, can afford it). It would be a good level of protection.
From today's Newspaper:
Monday, March 22, 2004
Benefits sought for firefighter's family
Colleagues of fallen Firefighter Martin H. McNamara V are expected to make a pitch tonight for a survivor benefits package that goes much further than the $100,000-plus plan of selectmen.
Some firefighters are saying the package to be presented by town officials at a special town meeting tonight does not do enough to help Firefighter McNamara's widow, Claire, and the couple's three children. The family lives in Clinton.
The Massachusetts Call-Volunteer Firefighters Association has put out a call to its members from Lancaster and beyond to attend the meeting as a show of support for Firefighter McNamara's kin.
An amendment expected to be brought to the floor tonight by Lancaster firefighters would provide Firefighter McNamara's family with the equivalent of a pension. As a call, or part-time, firefighter in Lancaster, Firefighter McNamara was not in line for such a benefit.
"This is an educational process," said Larry Holmberg, president of the firefighters association. He said he expects as many as 100 to 200 call and volunteer firefighters to converge on Lancaster tonight. "We're not there to intimidate. We're there to just show support."
Firefighter McNamara, 31, died Nov. 29 in a fire at 76 Mill St. He is survived by his wife and three daughters, one of whom was born in the days after the firefighter perished.
State law provides for line-of-duty death benefits for families of firefighters in departments that have a combination of full-time and call or volunteer firefighters, but there are no provisions for departments that are call, such as Lancaster's, Mr. Holmberg said.
Under the plan expected to be presented by Lancaster firefighters tonight, Firefighter McNamara's family would receive an annual payment equal to two-thirds of the salary of a first-year firefighter - a figure to be determined by averaging pay at area departments. Such pay would be in the $30,000 range, Mr. Holmberg said.
That plan is part of an amendment to be proposed for Article 3 of the town meeting warrant, which outlines the package to be offered by selectmen. Under the board's plan, Mrs. McNamara and her daughters would receive a $70,000 payout from the town, and the family would eligible to enroll in the town's health insurance plan under provisions similar to those offered to retirees. Selectmen also seek town meeting approval to pay $20,695.84 for the firefighter's funeral expenses.
The selectmen's proposal is outlined in a 12-page study on survivor benefits for Firefighter McNamara's kin. The study refers to $397,494 the family is due from federal, state and town payouts to families of firefighters killed in the line of duty.
Selectman Joanne C. Foster said selectmen feel confident their proposal is fair to the McNamaras. She said selectmen put much thought into their recommendation, knowing they were dealing with an emotional and important issue.
"No one questions the sacrifice Marty made; that's not the debate here," Mrs. Foster said. "It's what can we sustain?" According to the selectmen's study, the family of Firefighter McNamara qualifies for $267,494 from the U.S. Department of Justice, $100,000 from the state Board of Retirement and $30,000 from the town's insurer.
The special town meeting, with a warrant that has 17 articles, the first four dealing with survivor benefits for Firefighter McNamara's kin, is set to begin at 7 p.m. at Mary Rowlandson Elementary School.
Mr. Holmberg said his group has been lobbying the state Legislature to create a pension package for call and volunteer firefighters. In a letter to association members, posted on the group's Web site, Mr. Holmberg urges firefighters to continue the support they showed Firefighter McNamara's family in the days after he died in the basement of the Mill Street apartment house.
IACOJ Canine Officer
03-22-2004, 12:35 PM #3
- Join Date
- Dec 2002
- Central, MA
You are right Dal. This is a perfect example of the fire service being REactive instead of PROactive( oops I think I just opened a can of worms. But let me say this. This is not the thread to debate that issue.) I am going to call my state senator and talk with him about this issue. The good thing is he is on the Public Safety committee. I encourage every one else to do it also.
Dal, thanks for posting the T&G article I forgot to.
03-23-2004, 12:41 PM #4
Well...part 1 of 2 was succesful.
The Lancaster voter's approved the $30,000 pension but it's now contigent on a second vote to over-ride "Prop 2-1/2" in order to purchase an annuity plan to pay the pension.
Prop 2-1/2 is a Massachusetts law that prohibits municipal expenditures/taxes from increasing more than 2.5% in a year without a special override being passed.
Lancaster had a FY2001 Assessed Value of $391 million, so the purchase of the annuity should be a one time shot of 1.5 mills or so -- $1.50 per thousand assesed value, i.e. $200k homeowner pays $30.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Voters OK McNamara pension
LANCASTER- After two hours of discussion, and two amendments, town meeting voters last night unanimously approved making an annual pension payment to the widow and children of fallen firefighter Martin H. McNamara V.
But the payment is contingent on the passage of a Proposition 2½ "pension exclusion." If approved at the ballot box in November, a $650,000 annuity would be bought to pay Claire B. McNamara about $30,000 a year and each of her three young daughters $2,600 a year.
The plan was modified from a proposal put forward last night by the Lancaster Fire Department and supported by the Massachusetts Call-Volunteer Firefighters Association.
The original proposal on the warrant was formulated by the selectmen and Finance Committee, and called for a one-time payout of $100,000 on an accidental death insurance policy. There would be an additional one-time payment of $367,494 from federal and state assistance programs.
The contingent of fellow firefighters said Firefighter McNamara's family should be given a pension - an annual payment - equal to two-thirds of the salary of a first-year firefighter.
As a volunteer or part-time firefighter, he was not eligible for a pension.
More than 100 firefighters stood outside the Rowlandson Elementary School before the meeting in a show of support for the amendment.
Firefighter McNamara, 31, had been an on-call member of the force for three years. He died Nov. 29 while battling an early morning house fire at 76 Mill St.
The Fire Department's amendment, which passed 107-88 by paper ballot earlier in the meeting, called for funding an annuity out of the annual town budget. Town officials predicted the annuity would cost taxpayers about $1.8 million when it expired in 48.5 years.
The firefighters' amendment replaced the selectmen's and Finance Committee's proposal, under which the one-time benefit from the town's accidental death and dismemberment insurance would have been increased from $30,000 to $100,000. The annual cost to the town for the increase would have been about $14,000.
After the firefighters' amendment passed, the Finance Committee persuaded voters to approve using a Proposition 2½ vote as the funding mechanism. The recommendation passed unanimously.
In addition to cash payments, Mrs. McNamara is eligible for a property tax exemption from Clinton, where the family lives; and college assistance for her three young children.
She and Firefighter McNamara's parents, who all live in Clinton, were at the meeting last night.
Mrs. McNamara gave a moving speech about her husband and children, and was given thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
"It has been four months since Marty did not return from a call. Since then, I have had difficult questions to answer," she said. "Molli (age 5) asks why Daddy had to go on that call. Elizabeth (age 2) thinks he is still at a fire. And how do I explain to baby Marty (a daughter born five days after her father died) why she never met her daddy?"
An 11-page report prepared by the selectmen and Finance Committee consists of surveys of how much towns similar in size to Lancaster pay in accidental death insurance compensation to families of firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty.
The survey found the benefits ranged from $10,000 in Granby, to $300,000 in Ashburnham and Blackstone, with the average benefit about $104,000.IACOJ Canine Officer
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