Hicksville volunteer responders say years of service were dashed by fire district

Members say 38 firefighters and EMS members from the Hicksville Fire Department have been impacted.

Jon Dowding

Feb 28, 2024, 3:24 AM

Updated 54 days ago

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Hicksville first responders say the fire district violated their due process rights by taking years of service away from them without a chance to plead their case.
Those years of service are important because they can impact a volunteers' property tax exemptions, state income tax credits and retirement benefits. The benefits vary by fire district.
Members spoke out about the move Tuesday evening during a Board of Fire Commissioners meeting. Members say 38 firefighters and EMS members from the Hicksville Fire Department have been impacted.
The board passed a motion in May 2023 to deny members their years of service during the pandemic. Members were under the impression they wouldn’t be held accountable for years of service during the pandemic based on a letter a chief sent to them in November 2020. The board said he couldn’t do that in April 2021, but members say they weren’t given clarity as to how this would impact them at the time.
Matthew Waholek, a volunteer firefighter, says the board should overturn the motion.
"[The Board] instructed the chiefs to send us certified letters so we can appeal it and we met with the chiefs and the chiefs never gave us the opportunity to appeal it," he said.
The board said they must consult with their legal counsel before making any decision.


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