Long Island Fire Commissioner’s Post Leads To Suspension

A Facebook post about an area Mosque has led to the suspension of a firefighter who is also an elected fire commissioner. Last week, a Facebook user named Jerry Omara responded to Newsday coverage about plans to add a second story to a mosque in East Meadow by posting: “Let them put a fifth floor on the building and then take them up to the Roof and throw them off it.”

Omara’s Facebook page identified himself as a fire commissioner for the Lakeland Fire District in Ronkonkoma on Long Island. That prompted speculation and concern that the post was made by Lakeland Fire District Commissioner Gerald V. O’Mara.

In a statement released today, the fire district’s attorney Robert Flynn confirmed that the fire chief was investigating the posting, and that the firefighter who made it had been suspended while the matter is investigated.

Newsday quoted from Flynn’s statement:

  • “The Board of Fire Commissioners has the ultimate authority to discipline a member of the Fire Department if the facts warrant discipline,”
  • [The fire district is]“committed to serve and protect each and every resident of the Fire District no matter who they are or what their background might be. Hate speech or discriminatory speech will not be tolerated.”

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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