NEW YORK, NY — A former FDNY union head has pissed off rank-and-file firefighters by selling out — and now they are suing to get back some of his pay, saying he violated their contract.
The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York is suing its longest-serving president for switching sides to take a cushy job running the city’s Fire Department Pension Fund.
Stephen J. Cassidy, 67, was raking in a $130,000 salary from the union while collecting $90,000 in annual pay from the FDNY. But he stepped down from the union gig in 2016 to take a $212,000-a-year job as executive director of the pension fund.
The move violated the so-called “Von Essen Rule”— which requires a 3-year hiatus before union officials go to work for the city, so the union’s suing to clawback three years pay.
The rule is named after Cassidy’s predecessor, Tom Von Essen, who became the city fire commissioner under Giuliani.
Current Commissioner Daniel Nigro appointed Cassidy to the Pension Fund job — so some smoke eaters consider him a sellout for being rewarded by FDNY brass.
“This is all internal politics. The union is feeling pressure from the field,” a source said.
John Murphy, former executive director of the New York City Employees Retirement System said Cassidy will be able to substantially boost his pension at the fund.
“He gotten taken care of in this deal,” Murphy said.
Murphy said Cassidy helped negotiate the new law that provides more independent governance of the pension system, which has been totally managed by the FDNY.
“It was perverse for him to get the appointment after working out the arrangement for the fire pension fund. It’s not illegal but it raises conflicts,” Murphy added.
The union’s lawyer declined to elaborate on the suit.
Cassidy and pension fund reps did not return calls for comment.
From The New York Post