Saratoga County

Volunteer firefighter suing Clifton Park department

A former second assistant chief in the Clifton Park Fire Department is suing the district for $350,0

A former second assistant chief in the Clifton Park Fire Department is suing the district for $350,000, alleging retaliation and a hostile work environment after he raised safety issues in 2012.

Ronald E. Cronin Jr. says the second chief’s position was eliminated for 2013 after he contested the results of an election for the position in late 2012, only to be reinstated in 2014, when another candidate was named.

Cronin also said that after the position was eliminated, he was issued inadequate safety equipment, resulting in his responding to fewer fire calls in 2013, 2014 and 2015. That led to his losing “service awards points” toward a pension, he said in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this week in state Supreme Court in Ballston Spa, naming as defendants the Clifton Park Fire District, the board of fire commissioners and several other corporate entities of the department.

The all-volunteer department serves the central part of Clifton Park, Saratoga County’s largest town. Cronin, who has been a firefighter for more than 20 years, served as second assistant chief in 2012, according to the lawsuit. During that time, he said he raised questions about the fitness of one firefighter for some kinds of firefighting and was criticized by an unidentified superior for raising the issue.

In December 2012, Cronin finished second in the internal election for second assistant chief to a candidate he said was unqualified. The second assistant’s position was then abolished by fire commissioners, the lawsuit said.

As a result, Cronin said he lost use of a Chevy Tahoe assigned to the assistant chief and sustained other financial losses.

Subsequently, Cronin said he was issued a 10-year-old, expired safety helmet and other substandard equipment and as a result has responded to fewer alarms because of his safety concerns.

“[Cronin] suffered and continued to suffer social ostracism within Fire District and Fire Department, including but not limited to treatment of [Cronin] with disdain and in a demeaning manner by other members of the Fire District and Fire Department,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit seeks $350,000 in damages.

Fire department officials did not respond to a request for comment for this story on Thursday.

Categories: Schenectady County

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