We, the undersigned concerned citizens, support the Scarsdale Police Benevolent Association in their effort to restore the family medical benefits of officer's injured in the line of duty. Recently one of our police officers, Ronnie Arefieg, was seriously injured after an emotionally disturbed person attacked him. Police Officer Arefieg eventually subdued the physically imposing man, while abstaining from the use of any lethal force. Officer Arefieg elected General Municipal Law 207-C coverage while recuperating at home. GML 207-C was enacted forty-seven years ago by Governor Rockefeller to recognize the hazardous duties performed by law enforcement. The Human Resources Director, Michael DeLong, has decided to discontinue the employer provided health insurance previously provided to officers. Village officials communicated that Officer Arefieg had a choice between Worker's Compensation and GML 207-C status. That is simply not true. The Village of Scarsdale is without legal authority to offer a choice between Worker's Compensation and GML 207-C. The occupation of the employee, by state law, governs which payment plan the Village must follow. Our officers are bound by the only legal document in the State of New York that pertains to injured officers, GML 207-C. While the Workers' Compensation Law provides for limited salary payments, it does not require that a worker injured in the course of his employment to also receive uninterrupted health insurance coverage, nor does the specific language of the General Municipal Law, which applies to police officers. The right of all Village of Scarsdale employees to health insurance coverage-whether a clerical worker at Village Hall or a police officer responding to a home invasion- is determined by the collective bargaining agreement between that employees' union and the Village of Scarsdale. As a member of the Scarsdale Police Benevolent Association, Police Officer Arefieg, as well as all other officers are entitled to uninterrupted family health insurance coverage, the cost of which the employee pays for in part. This mean spirited and imprudent decision not only has instilled a fear in our police officers that they, too, may jeopardize their family health insurance coverage if they sustain a serious injury while in the performance of their duties, but such ill-advised decision is illegal. The stark display of governmental indifference exhibited by the Scarsdale Human Resource Director has demonstrated to the police officers of this proud Village, and the community we serve, that our police officers are not protected. We are asking for your support on this issue. We would like to confront the Village board at a future meeting with the results of this petition. Additionally, these public officials work for the taxpayers. Please let them know that they must reconsider this unprecedented action. Village Manager Al Gatta can be reached at (914) 722-1100 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Human Resource Director Mike DeLong can be reached at (914)722-1115 or at email@example.com
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