The union representing the city’s firefighters says its longtime head sold out rank-and-file firefighters by switching sides to take a cushy job running the city’s Fire Department Pension — and now they are suing to get back some of his pay.
The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York filed the Manhattan civil suit Wednesday against Stephen J. Cassidy, its longest-serving president.
The 67-year-old was raking in a $130,000 salary from the union while collecting $90,000 in annual pay from the FDNY. But he stepped down from the union gig in 2016 to take a $212,000-a-year job as executive director of the pension fund.
That move violated the so-called “Von Essen Rule”— which requires a three-year hiatus before union officials go to work for the city, so the union’s suing to clawback three years worth of pay.
The rule is named after Cassidy’s predecessor, Tom Von Essen, who became the city fire commissioner under Mayor Giuliani.
Current Commissioner Daniel Nigro appointed Cassidy to the Pension Fund job — so some smoke eaters now consider him a sellout rewarded by FDNY brass.
“This is all internal politics. The union is feeling pressure from the field,” a source said.
The union’s lawyer declined to elaborate on the suit.
Cassidy and pension fund reps did not return calls for comment.