SECAUCUS -- Three firefighters in Secaucus who had been accused in a civil lawsuit of being involved in the alleged harassment of two former gay residents were not reinstated to the volunteer fire department at a council meeting Tuesday night. However, amid protests, one of those firefighters was given the job of superintendent of the Department of Public Works.
A contingent of gay activists attended the meeting because there had been talk of reinstating the volunteer firefighters to the department. They had been named in a civil suit that the town lost last year, resulting in a multimillion dollar payout to the gay couple who said they were harassed while living near a firehouse.
The three men were never charged criminally, and resigned from the department rather than face an administrative hearing.
Before Tuesday's council meeting, new Mayor Michael Gonnelli, himself a volunteer firefighter, told the gay activist group Garden State Equality that the three men did not want to be reinstated at this time.
However, he did not mention that one of the men was up for a promotion.
Charles Snyder Sr. had worked for the Department of Public Works since 1974, and had served as assistant superintendent since 2005, according to a newspaper report.
Gonnelli, who himself formerly served as superintendent of public works, was among those backing Snyder's promotion.
The only council member to vote against it was John Shinnick, a political foe of Gonnelli's administration.