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May 11, 2009 - 9:05am

Batavia's fire chief denied waiver on pension + salary, resigns as of Friday

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire chief, civil service.

Batavia's interim Fire Chief Thomas Dillon will serve his last day with the department on Friday.

Dillon is resigning after the New York Civil Service Commission denied a waiver that would have allowed him to continue drawing retirement benefits while receiving a full-time salary from the city.

Dillon retired after 29 years with the Rochester fire department and under civil service rules could not collect more than $30,000 per year as Batavia's chief without a waiver. The job pays $80,000 per year.

Details on the reason for the denial are not immediately available, but Dillon said he believed it had something to do with the availability of local candidates to fill the role.  Civil service rules only allow a full-time position to be filled by a retired public employee if there are not other qualified candidates for the job.

Dillon, who was appointed to the job in September, said he's disappointed to be leaving Batavia.

"This has been a great fit for me," Dillon said. "I can't say enough about how great the people here have been. I have nothing but good things to say about the people on both the fire and the medic side. It's been a great experience for me."

He also praised the city administration and repeated how disappointed he is that he's unable to stay in Batavia.

Dillon and his wife will return to Geneseo, where they ow na home, he said.

UPDATE: An alert reader notes that city officials must have known for a few days at least that Chief Dillon would be leaving. There is a help wanted ad in the Democrat and Chronicle. The job opening was not advertised with the Daily News nor The Batavian (which is free). Nor is the job placed with Craig's List, which is also free.

UPDATE II: Before tonight's council meeting, I spoke with Jason Molino.  "We've been advertising the position for the last week and we have received resumes," Molino said. He also said, "We are considering internal candidates, as well."

Karen Miconi
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Guys, is this the fire chief that built a home on Bank st. near the airport??
Mark Potwora
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I'm glad to see the State it right for a change..With all the unemployment in this city,why would we hire someone who's allready getting a governemnt pension..I guess the city manager doesn't know the rules,or this wouldn't happen..Maybe the next one we hire, we can get a lower salary,considering he won't have to over see a ambluance service..Hard to believe that we can't promote someone from with in ,and then hire a new person to take that persons spot.. He also praised the city administration and repeated how disappointed he is that he's unable to stay in Batavia.If he was so disappointed then give up your pension and work here for 85,000 a year...Guess he wasn't that disappointed..
Peter O'Brien
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If he is the best man for the job, it shouldn't matter what other compensation he is receiving. Why should he have to give up what he has earned in order to earn more? Thats the problem with society right now. Read Atlas Shrugged.
Dave Meyer
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Right on Mark. I could not agree more. It's hard for me to believe that there isn't one qualified candidate in the current fire dept. staff that could be promoted. Young Mr. Molino seems to like to "go outside" for his hires of administrative staff. I appreciate that perhaps he's looking for 'new blood', 'fresh approach' and all that but if I was a long standing member of the city fire dept I'd like to think that I had at least an even chance to compete for that job. And...Peter. The fact is that the state has laws to prevent double dippers from doing what Mr. Dillon was doing. Certainly he had to know this would become an issue sooner or later. In fact, it's currently an issue with the police chief of the City of Buffalo.
Mark Potwora
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Thanks Dave...and to think the city just gave him a raise..and a car allowance..and then try to get him a waiver from the rules that others must follow seems so unfair..Lets take care of our own..Hire from within..
George Richardson
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@
George Richardson
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I posted twice,sorry. How does that happen?
Peter O'Brien
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So do you have a problem with someone getting a pension for 20 years in the military and then working for the post office for 20 more and getting a second pension?
Mark Potwora
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If he really wanted to ,he could work as the Chief for 30,000 dollars..So if he really like the job so much he can keep it...I guess he didn't like it that much....
Jacob Bell
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Why can't he just push back collecting his pension until he his really retired. If he is doing the job for the love of the job then this should not be a problem. Aand I thought pensions were for when you truly retired not part time retired.
Howard B. Owens
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To answer Jacob's question ... I think there is an issue that he made more in Rochester and if he came out of retirement, then his new retirement grade would be at the Batavia rate ... he'd lose money on his annual pension.
Mary E DelPlato
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Goodbye dont let the door hit u on ur way out

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