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  1. #1
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    Angry Town Votes Not To Support Family Of Lodd Firefigher

    I was a call firefighter in a town that bordered Lancaster, MA and was a career Firefighter in a city that bordered Lancaster as well. I find this disgusting and a slap in the face to any police officer, firefighter, or EMT that works for the town.

    http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com...510741,00.html

    Town votes against giving benefits to fallen firefighter's family

    By Shari Duffy, Sentinel & Enterprise Correspondent

    LANCASTER -- Town residents voted against providing Martin McNamara V's widow and family with annual death benefits following his death fighting a fire in November 2003.

    After waiting anxiously for several hours as the town's votes were counted, family members of fallen Lancaster fire fighter Martin McNamara V and his fellow firefighters were left stunned and visibly distraught.

    Just 18 votes separated those who were against a tax override that would have raised local taxes 7 percent for one year to fund an annuity to pay the McNamara family annual benefits. The final vote count was 1,615 against, 1,597 in favor with 170 blanks.

    McNamara's father, Martin McNamara IV, reacted sharply to the defeat, saying there were 30 call firefighters in Lancaster who "just got a message from the town people that said if you lose your life, it isn't worth it to us."

    McNamara later added his gratitude for those who did vote in favor of the override.

    One Lancaster firefighter shouted as he left the polling location "This town just sent these guys a message and the message is they don't give a crap. The townspeople just said 'Stick it.'"

    Lancaster has an all-call, or volunteer, fire department.

    McNamara, a call firefighter from Clinton, was killed on the morning of Nov. 29, 2003, the day after he turned 31 years old while battling a fire in the basement of a home on Mill Street. He left behind a wife, Claire, and three small daughters.

    Jim Buck, a member of the committee to support the McNamara family said they intend to seek a recount. Town Clerk Susan Thompson also said there were 29 provisional votes -- votes taken by people who claimed they were registered in Lancaster but whose names were not on the voter registration lists, that could be added to the final count if they are validated as legitimate Lancaster voters.

    At the Annual Town Meeting last May, voters overwhelmingly supported purchasing a $650,000 annuity to be used to provide McNamara's widow and three children an annual death pension equal to two-thirds the annual salary of a first-year firefighter. It would also allow the McNamara family to purchase town health insurance. Voters at that same town meeting also improved coverage for all call firefighters to ensure that if another call firefighter is killed in the line of duty, the town will have the insurance to provide for the family.

    Had voters approved the override, residents would have seen their tax bills increase by approximately $140 for every $100,000 in property for one year only.

    Chairman of the Selectmen Joanne Foster said she was saddened by the result but vowed "we are not going to let this family go without any benefits."
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

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    Nothing like giving your all for a community and then having that community kick you in the groin.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    Man what a slap in the face. I dont know what all the conditions were but when you put your life on the line for someone else as we all do on a daily basis and the people you serve dont ever show you respect it definitly is a wake up call.
    Steve
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    I think that I would have wanted the benefits on the front end (at the time of hire) than at the back end. At least, you knew the benefits were there before a tragic incident.
    So; now, if I'm the rest of those firefighters, I think that I would re-examine the risks vs. benefits thing.
    Perhaps they should get their annuities NOW, in writing, and then they won't have to worry about it should something happens.
    My heart goes out to the McNamara family.
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    This is the same town that hemmed and hawed a bit on whether to pay for the poor guy's funeral. This is a really small little town of a few thousand people. No real tax base. The stations that they run out of are about a hundred years old and are literally falling apart.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

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    The town's decision is morally indefensible! I hope these people don't profess any kind of religious affiliation, because they obviously have no compassion. It was a one-time tax to care for the family of a man who lost his life protecting his community. Unbelievable!

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    I'm struggling a bit here- on one hand I agree that it is a slap in the face, but on the other hand, if I was a resident I wouldn't want a tax increase to pay for this.

    This is something that should have been in place from the Lancaster City, not something that tax payers should fund.

    I don't know- this is a hard one....
    Luke

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    I'm struggling a bit on this one, too. Here are my thoughts...

    1. The town governing body ought to be thrown out on their ear, including the fire chief. To allow that FD to operate without the appropriate insurance protection is borderline criminal.

    2. I agree that I would not WANT a tax increase to pay for this. However, I think that I would have a moral obligation to support the tax increase simply because it is the right thing to do.

    3. I have always advocated that a town can have whatever level of fire protection it wants to pay for. If they are a small town with no real tax base, then they can contract with someone else for fire protection. If they want to have their own FD, PAY FOR IT!

    4. Every one of those fire fighters now knows what the value of their lives is. It has been established by the residents. It is $140.00. They should all take their equipment to Town Hall, dump it on the Mayor's desk and close up shop. Quitting is not something I advocate for something stupid. This is not something stupid.

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    Originally posted by lutan1
    This is something that should have been in place from the Lancaster City, not something that tax payers should fund.

    You make it sound like the city has a printing press out back where they print up money. The city gets money from the taxpayers. If the taxpayers aren't funding the city, how can the city be expected to fund this?

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    This is just unbeliveable, how could you vote against this? If I was one of the firefighters there I would quit. I am surprised that there was nothing in place for death or disability. Doesn't the State Worker Compensation provide anything?

    This is a lesson for everyone, check to see what your department would provide if you were injured or killed, you might be surprised by the answer.

  11. #11
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    I too think that I might consider saying to hell with being on the FD.

    If they dont want to pay LODD benefits the let them realy pay...let them try to hire or contract their fire protection.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    Exclamation UNF*#%ING BELIEVABLE!

    First-

    This is the most rediculous thing I've ever heard. The Chief of that dept should immediately issue an order that all responses from now on are Non-Emergency. No entry is to be made UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Or if this is an all volly outfit everyone should just look out for themselves and stay home.

    We always claim that the brothers come first. Well this is a chance for them to stick to that claim. Don't place yourself in danger for some ungrateful Sh*tbag citizens.

    Second-

    Lutan were you shaken as a child? Just where in the hell do you think the city gets money from? The reason they had a referendum was to get the taxpayers to give money to the city to help this brothers family for life finacially.


    For anyone who thinks the above is harsh on everyone...including those who voted for the measure should realize that this would place a fire under everyones ***** to get something passed.

    Now more than ever remember the following...

    F*** The Mutts - Protect The Brothers
    Last edited by FFFRED; 11-03-2004 at 09:14 PM.

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    I am normally one who lets people **** me off and I am still nice to them. This however has enraged me. I don't think the whole town should be penalized for this though.

    What I would do is get a list of people who voted against it. Plop that information into the dispatch center. If the call is at one of their residence or the license plate at the MVA comes back to them, stop what your doing at $140.00 worth of effort and supplies. No going interior. No extrications. No HazMat. No lights & sirens. And send them a bill for the fuel used by the trucks and your personal vehicles. Oh, and each one of them gets a mailing with the firefighter's picture and picture of his entire family without him there. Certified mail.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    I cant beleive this *****

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    Interesting responses. Granted, the town should have had the policy in place before hand, but no one ever thinks that this will happen to them, so they don't do it and then get caught.

    As for the state laws, I could not tell you how they work. The family did get state and federal survivor benefits.

    As for the fire chief, this town has had some MAJOR problems in the past few years. The former chief resigned after being routinely turned down year after year for capital expenditures and equipment and a sense of not having the support of the community representative. This department has literally done everything with NOTHING. They have just appointed their first full-time chief this past year and he is going to have his hands full getting things done.

    This town only has roughly 60% of its land as taxable. There are several churches, 2 state prisons, and a church based university in town that do not pay taxes. The university and prisons pay a yearly payment in lieu of taxes though, but it obviously comes no where near tax value. There are also a few monestaries sitting in town as well as the Perkins school for the Blind. And many of the newer residents in town are buying or building some very large homes that are costing well over $300,000. Good for them, but $140 is not a lot to ask.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

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    Thumbs down

    That is sick and wrong .............although I may not like the tax increase it is only for a year and for a good cause ..........
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    Before I blow...

    This depaertment...w/o a pot to **** in...has a full time fire chief? Why? Where did they find him...monster.com?

    If he is full-time Chief, and he has allowed this FD to operate w/o the appropriate protection for the members, it IS criminal.

  18. #18
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    Easy George. The guy has only been on the job for a couple of months. Prior to that they were operating with a part time interim chief. This is quite the small town. I don't think chief has even unpacked his boxes completely yet and the list of things he needs to fix is very long and I think he's still compiling it.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

    www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

  19. #19
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    Wow- that got a response!

    I'm not anti the tax, what I'm saying is why should I as a tax payer be asked to cough up more when the city should already have protection in place.

    It's rough to ask for more from families that may already be cash strapped. What happens to the next LODD family in this city? Do they have to pay more? Where does it stop?

    However, if the tax was already in place, it wouldn't be such an issue...

    As for some of the comments-
    Lutan were you shaken as a child? Just where in the hell do you think the city gets money from? The reason they had a referendum was to get the taxpayers to give money to the city to help this brothers family for life finacially.
    AS per above. Where does it stop? It should have already been in place.

    You make it sound like the city has a printing press out back where they print up money. The city gets money from the taxpayers. If the taxpayers aren't funding the city, how can the city be expected to fund this?
    I'm sure other staff members of the city are covered by insurance. I'm sure the Mayor and others are covered! Why not the FD? As I've said (numerous timnes now)- it should already be in place. Where does it stop?

    2. I agree that I would not WANT a tax increase to pay for this. However, I think that I would have a moral obligation to support the tax increase simply because it is the right thing to do.
    Got no issue with that, but moral obligation or not, some people probably can't afford even the slightest increase.

    What I would do is get a list of people who voted against it. Plop that information into the dispatch center. If the call is at one of their residence or the license plate at the MVA comes back to them, stop what your doing at $140.00 worth of effort and supplies. No going interior. No extrications. No HazMat. No lights & sirens. And send them a bill for the fuel used by the trucks and your personal vehicles. Oh, and each one of them gets a mailing with the firefighter's picture and picture of his entire family without him there. Certified mail.
    Yeah right....
    Luke

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    Originally posted by DaSharkie
    Easy George. The guy has only been on the job for a couple of months. Prior to that they were operating with a part time interim chief. This is quite the small town. I don't think chief has even unpacked his boxes completely yet and the list of things he needs to fix is very long and I think he's still compiling it.
    OK, that makes sense. But I still have to ask why does this town have a career chief? If it is a small town with no tax base, that must mean that there are very few calls for service. You can buy alot of insurance with the money you would be saving by having a volunteer chief.

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    The premise behind a full time chief is strictly to handle the administrative crap. The town has a poor record of performing inspection to the requirement of the state and performing the various other oil burner inspections, building inspections, etc. Plus no attendance at state meetings that could benefit the town. Prior to this, they utilized the deputy chief who also worked for another town department to help get the inspections done.

    Add to this that an investigation into the town found morale in the toilet, that is what led to the recommendation for a full-time chief. Someone who can dedicate their time to getting morale up within the department.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

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  22. #22
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    Originally posted by DaSharkie
    Add to this that an investigation into the town found morale in the toilet, that is what led to the recommendation for a full-time chief. Someone who can dedicate their time to getting morale up within the department.
    Imagine that, throwing a salary at a morale problem to fix it. I wonder if it ever works anywhere. ANYHOW I digress...

    Forgive me if this was brought up or posted somewhere, but what about Federal PSOB? I realize it's a separate issue from the municipal level... I was just curious if the Fed's had been invovled yet.

    Also, should call firefighters run this scenario by the powers-that-be in their communities? I'm kind of curious because I can't answer what would happen if a LODD occurred in my department. I'm aware of the hassle that can be created with otj injuries and workers comp issues... I'm now very curious about LODD. I feel pretty ignorant when I stop and consider that I've never given this any thought before.
    Last edited by Resq14; 11-04-2004 at 07:24 AM.
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    Sorry to hear this, and it does seem to send a message. I also have mixed feeling on this, as a tax payer I would have a hard time voting yes. I know they say it is a one time only tax hike, But I have lived in Mass far to long to know better. 140 per 100,000, the way houses are going thru the roof this could end up being more in the range of 600.00 per house hold, thats alot of money for some people. I read that the family is getting bennies, she is not out in the cold from what I understand. From what I have read in the NIOSH report, money can be made in other way's!!

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    If you buy or build a $600,000 house, then a one-time $600.00 tax increase is a drop in the bucket.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Default From Today's Boston Herald

    As for the question about PSOB, they did receive state and federal benefits, but this overrid is to supply a salary of about $30,000 per year for her life and pay for the family's health insurance for life. Not a bad thing. This is a weird setup in that it is for a call firefighter so this is the first time I have seen some of this set up after the fact. My former call department, the one next to this town, has a setup that the if a call firefighter were to die in the line fo duty, they would get the salary of a full-time firefighter to go their wife/family.

    This is from today's edition of the Boston Herald. This is pretty decent paper and is usually very pro public safety personnel.

    Town snubs hero’s widow: Voters nix lifetime pension
    By Jessica Heslam and Jennifer Rosinski
    Thursday, November 4, 2004

    Baffled family and friends of a volunteer firefighter killed in the line of duty vowed not to give up after Lancaster residents refused to pay a lifetime pension for his widow and three children.

    ``Our son lost his life serving a community and a large number of people in our community voted not to give benefits to his wife and children,'' Martin McNamara said of his namesake son. ``I'm disappointed.''

    The younger Martin ``Marty'' McNamara, 31, died Nov. 29 in the basement of an apartment building blaze in Lancaster. His widow, Claire, gave birth to their third daughter five days after his death.

    Supporters cried out and the fallen jake's stunned and speechless widow fled the community center where the votes were tallied Tuesday night after learning the town had rejected the ``McNamara Family Override.''

    But the elder McNamara said the family still holds out hope that up to 35 provisional ballots left to be counted will overturn the defeat. The measure lost by a mere 18 votes, with 1,597 in favor and 1,615 opposed. Once those ballots are counted, McNamara said supporters will consider a recount.

    ``It's not right. We won't give up. We'll keep on fighting until we get this family what they deserve,'' said family friend Jim Buck.

    The override's failure has some call firefighters thinking about stepping down, said the elder McNamara, whose daughters are married to call firefighters.

    ``I certainly wouldn't like to see my daughters in the position my daughter-in-law is in,'' he said. ``My daughters are doing a lot of reflection. My daughters are both saying, `You're done,' to their husbands and they are saying, `Yeah, maybe.' ''

    Lancaster Selectman David Dunn was stunned by the voters' decision to abandon thefamily.

    ``I'm saddened. I just don't get it. I drove home with tears running down my cheeks, wondering how we could provide for this lady and three children,'' Dunn said.

    McNamara, who lived in Clinton, was a volunteer with the Lancaster department who dreamed of becoming a full-time firefighter. Volunteer or call firefighters aren't eligible for death benefits or pensions.

    The one-time, $650,000 override would have given McNamara and her young daughters an average of $30,000 a year and included health insurance.

    It would have cost the owner of a $250,000 home a one-time payment of $300, town officials said. The McNamaras have received about $400,000 in government benefits, including about $265,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice, $100,000 from the state Retirement Fund and a $30,000 insurance payment from Lancaster.

    Lancaster has about 30 volunteer firefighters, more than half of them live out-of-town because the town can't recruit enough residents.

    ``How can you turn your back on the family of a fallen firefighter? It seems like complete disrespect for the risks that these young men take,'' said Buck.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

    www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

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