A frequent question I've received over the years is about making changes to the points and service credit after the 30-day posting period is complete. You know the story - someone doesn't pay attention to the posted points and then when the person receives their participant statements, notices he/she was not credited with 50 points or a year of service credit. Or worse yet, a volunteer doesn't pay attention for years, and when he/she turns the entitlement age now realizes he/she wasn't credited with (or didn't earn) several years of LOSAP service credit during his/her career.
To refresh, here is what §217 of the General Municipal Law states:
(g) An active volunteer firefighter whose name does not appear on the approved certified list or who is denied credit for service prior to the establishment of the service award program shall have the right to appeal within thirty days of posting of the list or within thirty days of denial of past service credit. The appeal shall be in writing and mailed to the clerk or secretary of the governing board of such political subdivision, which shall investigate the appeal. The decision of the authorities in control of each volunteer fire company shall be subject to appropriate judicial review.
The statute doesn't seem to indicate that after the 30-day period is complete, the volunteer permanently loses the right to appeal. Although it certainly seems like a definitive time-line for making an appeal.
But there should be some room for extenuating circumstances. For example, snow birds that may be out of town from January 1st to April 1st - may miss the posting period. There could be other legitimate reasons for why an appeal couldn't be made during the 30-day period.
The other issue is a matter of record retention - the longer a volunteer waits to appeal a denied year of service credit, the less likely that the supporting documentation still exists.
With that all said, it would seem that a municipality would be able to deny any request to fix any points or service credit records after the 30-day posting period for that particular year of service credit. However, it would also seem that a municipality would not want to deny a volunteer of his/her rightfully earned benefit over missing a deadline.
So if a volunteer makes an appeal about a prior year, and the fire department's records substantiate that the volunteer did actually earn 50 points during the year, it would seem reasonable for the municipality to approve a correction. If the municipality decides to correct a prior year, it should be done by resolution of the board, in the same manner as the regular annual points listing is approved.
Since the law is silent on this matter, it is a situation where the municipality should consult their legal council before making a final decision.
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