FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 5, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION INCREASING NUMBER OF FIRE DEPARTMENT PENSION FUND MEDICAL BOARDS
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
"The first bill before me today is Introductory Number 369-A, sponsored by Council Members Addabbo, Comrie, Gonzalez, Mark-Viverito, Stewart, Jackson, Gennaro and Weprin. Introductory Number 369-A increases the number of Fire Department Pension Fund Medical Boards that can be convened to review firefighter disability retirement applications.
"Introductory Number 369-A updates outdated language to accurately reflect the composition of the Board and permits up to three additional medical boards to be convened, at the discretion of the Board, to review disability retirement applications.
"The FDNY has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of disability retirement applications since the tragic events of September 11th and the Department expects the number of firefighters applying for disability retirement to increase in the future. In many cases, a retirement application takes more than a year to process, a delay that burdens both the retiring employee and the FDNY.
"The Board is currently comprised of three physicians appointed by the Board of Trustees, the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. Introductory Number 369-A allows for each appointing authority to appoint up to three alternate physicians to make up to three additional medical boards. The additional medical boards would be convened when needed to expedite the retirement process for active firefighters. This will enable the FDNY to quickly resolve the employment status of retiring members and more quickly fill the vacancies left by their retirement. Shorter processing time will also decrease the amount of overtime used by active firefighters while their injured colleagues await the decision of the Board and will enable the Department to more expeditiously allocate the supplemental portion of retirees' pensions that are withheld until the disability application has been processed.
"Increasing the number of pension fund medical boards for firefighters follows the pattern established for other City employees, which serves to streamline the processing of pensions and will be a great benefit to the brave men and women who serve our City.
"I would like to thank Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, Labor Relations Commissioner James Hanley, and their staff for their work on this bill. I would also like to thank the Council for approving this legislation."
Stu Loeser/Matthew Kelly (212) 788-2958
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