Union Rips FDNY Over Dangerous 'Liaisons'

A powerful firefighters union boss says the FDNY outright ignored the "unquestionable certainty" that some firemen would ignore their own families and get "too close" to the widows and kids of their fallen Sept. 11 comrades."From the get-go, the Fire...


A powerful firefighters union boss says the FDNY outright ignored the "unquestionable certainty" that some firemen would ignore their own families and get "too close" to the widows and kids of their fallen Sept. 11 comrades.

"From the get-go, the Fire Department acted irresponsibly," United Firefighters of America Manhattan trustee Rudy Sanfillipo told The Post.

"We begged them to put counseling measures in place starting as soon those towers came down. We even offered to run it. And they ignored us."

Sanfillipo's blistering words came in response to Monday's Post report about firefighters who - after acting as "liaisons" to families of firemen killed in the terror attacks - left their own wives and kids for their "adopted" families.

"This was our main issue, that families would be torn apart," said Sanfillipo. "It was predictable. It's human nature. It's pathetic that the department took no action to minimize the damage."

The union had run the liaison program for decades, until the FDNY took over after Sept. 11.

Firemen were taken off the work chart to assist families of those killed, usually rotating the assignment. Ultimately, about 150 firemen acted as liaisons.

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Joseph Lentol said he will introduce legislation in January requiring a revamp of FDNY support programs.

Lentol (D-Brooklyn) is calling for mandatory counseling in certain situations, and wants the program to be run by independent agencies operating "outside the Fire Department's [insular] culture," said his chief of staff, Cathy Peake.

The FDNY does not currently mandate counseling.

Lentol was spurred to action by the case of Mary Koenig, whose firefighter husband, Gerry, left his family for the widow of one of his buddies.

Koenig had been the bereaved family's liaison.