The Edgartown selectmen Tuesday voted to refer the case of an Edgartown volunteer firefighter injured on the job to a medical panel.
Labor counsel Jack Collins outlined for selectmen the financial history and town obligations for James Klingensmith, who was injured fighting a fire three years ago as a volunteer firefighter for Edgartown.
Mr. Collins said that the town is required to give injured firefighters leaves without loss of pay if injured, with stipends of about $600 twice a year. The town also has to pay the injured firefighter $3,000 a year if they cannot perform their regular job, and pay reasonable regular bills. He said Edgartown had been doing this for Mr. Klingensmith.
If the individual is placed on retirement, the only obligation the town has is to pay $3,000 a year plus reasonable medical bills, he said.
Mr. Collins said the town had been paying about $40,000 to $50,000 a year in this case, “clearly well beyond what was required,” with medical bills paid. Over the last three years, since the November 2009 injury, Mr. Klingensmith was paid about $152,000, Mr. Collins said, most of which came from insurance payments.
Per the selectmen’s vote, the town has recommended that the retirement board convene a three-physician panel to examine Mr. Klingensmith to determine if he is permanently disabled, and if so, whether the injury was work related.
Mr. Klingensmith was invited to the meeting but did not attend, town administrator Pamela Dolby said.