N.Y. Governor Keeps Firefighter's Name Off Wall

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill Monday that would have added a Long Island firefighter who was killed in 2006 to the state's firefighters memorial, according to The Malverne-West Hempstead Patch.

Malverne Volunteer Firefighter Paul Brady was working on top of an apparatus in the firehouse on June 30, 2006 when a colleague drove it out without realizing he was there.

The 42-year-old was crushed between the vehicle and a ceiling beam and died from his injuries.

The selection committee for the memorial in Albany has voted against the nomination for Brady's inclusion four times, citing criteria defining "in the line of duty" as activities related to emergency incidents or training.

Executive Director of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs Thomas LaBelle told Newsday that some have argued that to be on the memorial, a firefighter's death should have been heroic, not just tragic.

"Tragedy is enough," LaBelle said. "If it's in the line of duty of serving your community, the name should go on the wall."

Brady's death has previously been determined to be in the line of duty by the New York Workers' Compensation Board, the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg pushed for the state to put Brady's name on the memorial through a bill that would have overridden the decision of the selection committee.

"What we want is justice and to give a family the relief and honor they're entitled to by having this man's name on the wall," he told Newsday before Cuomo made his decision. "Everywhere else he's accepted as dying in the line of duty. Why should he not be on the wall in New York State?"

Both the New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation to place his name on the memorial and sent the bill to Cuomo on Dec. 21.

One Jan. 2, the governor sided with the selection committee, choosing not to approve the piece of legislation.

"I am sympathetic to the families and colleagues of every firefighter who has died in circumstances that do not make that firefighter eligible for inclusion on the State Memorial Wall," he said in a memo obtained by The Patch. "And this was a very difficult decision, but there should not be one set of eligibility criteria for volunteer firefighters and another for paid firefighters."