Firefighters parade coming in September

| 21 Feb 2012 | 11:01

    MONROE-After some heated discussion, the Village Board gave its approval earlier this week to hold the Orange County Volunteer Firemen's Parade in Monroe on Saturday, Sept. 14. The board rejected a previous resolution on May 17, citing budget reasons. At that meeting, Trustee John Karl, who is past Monroe fire chief of Monroe and is currently president of Orange County Fireman‘s Association, recused himself from the vote after Village Attorney J. Bennett Farrell indicated that Karl had a potential conflict of interest based upon his fire service. That seemed to increase tensions between Karl and some other village board members, who have sparred over budget issues and differences of opinion on spending village funds to cover medical benefits that some board members and the village attorney receive. The annual firefighters parade is traditionally hosted in the community where the president of the volunteer association resides. The last time Monroe hosted the parade was in 1998 when Monroe resident Rich Jones was president of the organization. "This is not about one person; you were informed three years ago," said Jones, now the parade committee chairman, in asking for reinstatement of the parade. "We're not here to fight with you people; we want to work with you." In response, Trustee Jeffrey W. Peifer said that the board certainly appreciates what the fire company does. The board initially rejected supporting the parade due to the estimated cost of more than $2,000 for police overtime, plus the costs of clean up by two highway department workers. During the discussion earlier this week on the second resolution discussion, board members suggested the money might be available from the unanticipated revenues received from the Village of Kiryas Joel for fire support in fiscal year 2004. The village has collected more than $97,000 in the non-contracted fire calls. Sparks flew again during the meeting when Karl complained to Mayor Joseph C. Mancuso that he has repeatedly requested the addition of an agenda item to discuss the medical insurance benefits for board officials and he said that his requests have continually been ignored. Mancuso stated that Karl has not used the proper procedure to add the agenda item for discussion.