Public Service Announcement
My morning show was discussing this story this morning:
Lancaster voters reject pension for firefighter's family (Globe) LANCASTER, Mass. (AP) Supporters of a widow whose firefighter husband was killed on duty last November vowed not to give up efforts to gain a lifetime pension for the woman after voters rejected a referendum to pay for the family's death benefits.
A town referendum on whether to give Claire McNamara a $650,000 pension and health benefits fell short by 18 votes in Tuesday's election. There was still a chance that the proposal could still pass, because of 35 provisional ballots that remained to be counted.
''Our son lost his life serving a community, and a large number of people in our community voted not to give benefits to his wife and children,'' said Martin McNamara, the father of fallen firefighter Martin McNamara. ''I'm disappointed.''
After the votes were tallied at a community center on Tuesday, supporters cried out in disbelief, and Claire McNamara fled the building, the Boston Herald reported.
Claire McNamara's husband, part-time firefighter Martin H. McNamara, was killed on duty Nov. 29 of last year in a basement explosion of a house in Lancaster. Towns with volunteer or on-call fire departments are not required by law to pay death benefits to families of fallen firefighters. The McNamara family lived in Clinton, the next town over.
Because the proposed Lancaster benefit would have required a one-year 7 percent property tax hike, residents had to approve the increase, as voters statewide must do anytime a town wants to raise property taxes more than 2.5 percent. Lancaster, in the central part of the state, has a population of about 7,000.
The Lancaster Town Meeting agreed in March to put a question on the ballot as to whether to raise taxes to pay for the family's benefits.
Lancaster Selectman David Dunn said he was saddened by the vote.
''I just don't get it. I drove home with tears funning down my cheeks, wondering how we could provide for this lady and three children,'' Dunn said.
According to a caller, donations to the family can be made via:
McNamara Family Fund c/o Workers' Credit Union 145 Main St. South Lancaster, MA 01561
Their phone number for more information is (978) 368-8200.