NEW YORK, NY – A hero FDNY firefighter dismissed after testing positive for cocaine has won his job back — after arguing that Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro gave a similar break to his predecessor’s son.
Glen Merkitch, 47, who has won bravery awards for his rescues, failed a random test in 2011, violating the FDNY’s “zero tolerance” policy. He resigned in 2013 rather than face charges.
A year later, he pleaded to return, saying his “isolated” cocaine use occurred after a visit from the son of a close firefighter friend killed on 9/11. He said the visit took a “heavy emotional toll.”
When Nigro refused, Merkitch filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn Supreme Court, noting that Nigro re-hired Joseph Cassano, son of former commissioner Sal Cassano. The young Cassano, an EMT, had resigned after his barrage of racist tweets was exposed by The Post.
Nigro changed course, “after a careful and thorough review of the case,” an FDNY rep said Friday.
But some emergency responders said Nigro “opened the floodgates” for other employees caught on drugs to get a second chance.
“Zero tolerance is not so zero anymore,” one said.
Merkitch, assigned to Ladder 56 in The Bronx, declined to comment.
From The New York Post