NJ Fire Company Battles Borough For Control

A New Jersey volunteer fire company is challenging a town’s attempts to usurp its authority to appoint members, officers and its fire chief.

The Newfield Volunteer Fire Company filed suit against the Borough of Newfield in New Jersey Superior Court seeking to invalidate a borough ordinance that purports to give the borough council the authority to appoint reprimand, suspend or remove members and officers of the department, including the fire chief.

The fire company claims that the borough lacks the ability to give itself authority over the fire company by enacting an ordinance.  It also points out that the fire company’s existence predates the creation of the borough by 16 years.

The dispute has been simmering for several years with borough officials attempting to close the fire company earlier this year. That effort failed when those in favor of closing the company lost the vote.

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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