Utica's fire chief on leave has a court date set.
Chief Russell Brooks says the city of Utica and Mayor Robert Palmieri were wrong to place him on leave, and a civil suit will be heard November 17 in Supreme Court in Rome.
Last December, Chief Brooks notified the city that he was diagnosed with cancer determined to be caused by his work in New York City following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
In May, the 41 year veteran of the Utica Fire Department was called into the mayor's office and placed on leave. The city's medical experts filed a report, and chief brook's doctors filed a report.
In this case, the judge will make a determination on extended sick leave under section 92 D, which is a brand-new section of law.
“I am looking for an acknowledgment that, ‘yeah, this report that you filed was valid.’ It’s so clear,” Brooks said. “The governor just signed another law that says to get this recognition as qualification you need two things. You need that certificate from the World Trade Center, which I’ve got, and you need to be employed by a municipality. It’s pretty clear.”
Brooks says he doesn't want anything extra from the city, but the city's Corporation Counsel says that's not true. The city is the primary payer of treatment, while the World Trade Center Health Program is the secondary payer.