FDNY Firefighter Seeks Reinstatement

An FDNY firefighter who resigned in 2013 after failing a random drug test is suing to get his job back, and he is citing the city’s reinstatement of a fire commissioner’s son as precedence.

Glen Merkitch, 46, a 13 year veteran, filed suit yesterday in Brooklyn requesting that the Kings County Supreme Court order his reinstatement. The complaint references the reinstatement Joseph Cassano to the EMS division earlier this year. Cassano, the son for former FDNY Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano, resigned in 2013 following the posting of bigoted and anti-Semitic comments on Twitter. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro reinstated Cassano in July.

Merkitch’s complaint states that he sought reinstatement to FDNY in late 2014, but was informed in June, 2015 that his request was denied. The denial letter from Commissioner Nigro reportedly stated: “regardless of …[my] personal feelings about the rights and wrongs of the situation…[the] laws and regulations… [governing the FDNY] preclude me from reinstating someone who resigned while facing disciplinary charges.”

The complaint states: “It’s certainly not clear why Commissioner had the discretion to permit the reinstatement of Joseph Cassano, but claimed he lacks that discretion for Merkitch.”

Merkitch was a highly decorated member of FDNY and assigned to Rescue 1 and attributed his positive test to a single poor choice precipitated by job related stress. 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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