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Jul 20, 2011 10:28 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Fired Southampton Village Officer Seeks Lost Benefits After State Awards Him September 11 Disability Payments

Jul 20, 2011 12:31 PM

A former Southampton Village Police sergeant who lost his benefits when he was fired more than three and a half years ago is claiming via a complaint filed with the New York State Division of Human Rights that his benefits should be restored, since he was recently awarded accidental disability retirement benefits related to his volunteer work at the World Trade Center site in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

Christopher Broich, the former officer, is arguing that his disability predates his firing by the village, and thus he should be eligible for all of the benefits he lost upon his termination in December 2007. He said he was first diagnosed with the disability, identified in his complaint as asthma, in February 2007.

Mr. Broich has filed numerous lawsuits against the village following his termination for misconduct and incompetence, none of which has been decided in his favor to date. Officials say the village has spent more than $500,000 to defend those lawsuits, in which he sought, in part, to be reinstated to the force.

But at the same time he also filed applications to the state in May 2008 seeking to be declared eligible for disability pension benefits, both through the World Trade Center disability program and through the state employee retirement system.

Mr. Broich voluntarily responded to the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, as did many East End police officers and rescue workers. What services he performed and the exact dates of his service are unclear, and he declined to say in an interview this week.

On April 26 of this year, the state determined that Mr. Broich was “permanently incapacitated for the performance of duties,” based on an accident that occurred on an “unspecified date and time,” according to a document signed by Kathleen A. Nowak, director of disability services for the state, stating that Mr. Broich’s application had been approved. Presumably, the debilitating injury occurred as a result of rescue and cleanup efforts following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

The determination means that Mr. Broich will receive lifetime pension benefits from the state.

In general, the accidental September 11 disability retirement benefit for police officers is 75 percent of the officer’s final average salary, generally an average of the highest three consecutive years, according to Eric Sumberg, press secretary for the state comptroller’s office—and it is not taxable. Mr. Broich’s final average salary was never calculated because he was terminated; his last reported base annual salary was $114,000, according to Village Administrator Stephen Funsch.

Mr. Broich’s benefits were effective retroactively to June 2, 2008, Mr. Sumberg said last month. The office said a Freedom of Information Law request filed by The Press early last month for documents on the matter is still under legal review and could take until October to process.

In a letter to Village Hall dated May 12, Mr. Broich claimed that because of the state’s determination, the village should reinstate a slew of benefits related to his employment on the police force, including payment for accrued sick and vacation time. At the time of his termination, he had 260 unused sick days and 98 vacation days, totaling approximately $156,000, according to Mr. Funsch. In the same letter, Mr. Broich argued that he should receive medical, dental and optical insurance, a retired police sergeant’s identification, shield and pistol permit, and the return of handguns, among other benefits.

In a letter dated May 24, Mr. Funsch replied that Mr. Broich’s status with the village as a terminated employee remains unchanged by the retirement system’s determination, particularly in light of a recent legal upholding of that termination.

In the Human Rights Complaint, filed on July 1, Mr. Broich argues that Mayor Mark Epley and then-Police Captain Thomas Cummings discriminated against him by not restoring his benefits. On the form, Mr. Broich checked off that he believes he was discriminated against because of his disability, which he lists as asthma, and as retaliation for having filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission suit alleging reverse discrimination years ago. Mr. Broich also checked off that he was discriminated against because of his age (48), and national origin and race (American Indian).

He alleges that the Long Island World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program at Stony Brook University diagnosed his disability on February 17, 2007, and that the village “willfully and intentionally” withheld the results of his pre-employment physical exam—a document needed as part of the disability application—for more than two years, thereby delaying his receipt of state disability benefits.

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In other words, he's acknowledging his lawsuit is without merit and going nowhere and he needs to find an alternative source of income. His arrogant attitude and "I'll take down the department" strategy isn't working any better for his post PD career than it did when he was with the department.
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Jul 20, 11 12:57 PM
3 members liked this comment
I can't read the whole article.. what were the grounds on his termination?
By YesYesBub (58), East Hampton on Jul 20, 11 1:06 PM
No grounds just retaliation He filed an EEOC complaint for reverse discrimination (failure to promote) in 2005. The african american police officer who go the promotion was best friends (and roommates) with the Mayor Mark Epley. The matter is before the courts in NYC. Still pending.
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Jul 20, 11 1:22 PM
Sorry Chris (Rondo) you were terminated because you were found GUILTY by a Judge... I believe it was 13 counts of violating the rules and procedures of the Police Department
By guest (68), Bridgehampton on Jul 24, 11 9:47 PM
When will this guy give up?
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Jul 20, 11 1:33 PM
Tell me why he should. Do you know something everyone else doesn't?
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Jul 20, 11 10:26 PM
Because he is wasting taxpayer dollars in legal fees
By hbboater (2), Hampton bays on Jul 22, 11 7:34 AM
Yes we do, In order to get Fired from a Police Department you need a hearing before a Judge. He was found guilty and removed from the Police Department and appealed the decision and lost yet again.. How much more of your money should they spend???? We are paying for every appeal process.... Maybe you should just hand over your tax dollars for someone who is no longer considered an effective Police Officer!!!!!!!!!!!
By guest (68), Bridgehampton on Jul 24, 11 9:43 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By local69 (65), southampton on Jul 20, 11 1:47 PM
just pay him and end this saga-$500,000 already wasted
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 20, 11 3:24 PM
I remember working the pile at ground zero, along with 26 of my fellow volunteer fire fighters. We did not have time to take pictures, as if we were on a site seeing tour like this officer. To come up several years later after all what happened and request medical compensation, and now retirement benefits from the village, after being terminated because he could not play nice with others, that is low. Sham on you Chris. The state should really look into this claim. It smells badly of abuse ...more
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on Jul 21, 11 7:13 AM
1 member liked this comment
Most of the volunteer firefighters from the area were not allowed into ground zero. This was in part because it was a crime scene. Sham on you for not being a good Ground Zero brother. Jealous hatred comes from politics and politicians not brothers.
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Jul 21, 11 8:50 AM
I second your comment. This guy's smiling at Ground Zero? I didn't smile for a long time after that; lots of us were unsure how strongly we would retailiate and what would happen to the world. And every American would have volunteered at the site if permitted. He's treating it like a ticket-punching exercise and seems to have taken the photos for ego purposes.
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Jul 25, 11 7:47 PM
There is no valor or honor in keeping up the fight. The honor and valor comes from knowing when you've done all you can and you let go. It's time for this young man to let go, and move forward. I mean, September 11 was 10 years ago and this guy is still living off of that glory and perhaps the memory of that pretty fantastic mustache. But, what good is getting any sheckles from the man if you've lost your dignity, your potential and the respect of those that live amongst you?
By HSA (68), southampton on Jul 21, 11 7:21 AM
to HSA:

Your criticism is out of line. The fact that Officer Broich is pursuing a legal remedy does not diminish his laudatory behavior in voluntarily responding on 9/11.

A very large number of first responders on 9/11 have retired on disability because of the toxic soup of asbestos dust and other irritants created by the destruction of the towers. Should they all have abandoned their claims because they were infra dig?

I have no personal knowledge of Officer Broich's ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 21, 11 11:24 AM
2 members liked this comment
Thank you.
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Jul 21, 11 12:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
By local69 (65), southampton on Jul 24, 11 9:03 PM
Nice pictures. Very very nice pictures. Sad to tell all that many may find this hard to believe, but there was no time for nor was it looked upon as normal behavior for first responders to POSE for pictures at the site. To submit them to a newspaper to support your case is completely out of bounds. I am sure you did your 3 days and I will give you that, but you weren't there to pose for pictures, you were there to dig. As for good ground zero brothers, I can recall one who on more than 3 dozen ...more
By Basil123 (2), Southampton on Jul 21, 11 8:31 PM
3 members liked this comment
to Basil123:

In your debut post on this forum, you spew invective about a relatively innocuous article. Obviously, you are invested in this case. Your prejudiced and splenetic response reveals you as a personal antagonist of Officer Broich.

Most respondents maintain their anonymity because they do not want to be harassed about their posts. In your case, however, it appears that you are hiding behind a pseudonym in order to conceal your vested interest. If merely an objective ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 22, 11 10:41 AM
2 members liked this comment

To Basil;
As a retired NYC fire officer who was on duty working in the towers on the morning of September 11, 2001, I must take exception with Sgt. Broich’s use of the media for his own personal gains. His photograph serves at least in my eyes and I’m sure the eyes of many of the other members of the FDNY, as an attempt to validate himself. His reasons for his need to be validated are his own and he is entitled to them. He must however realize ...more
By MacDuffy (2), Sayville on Jul 22, 11 2:05 PM
3 members liked this comment
Sgt. Broich attended more associated agency funerals then most of the Department. He was also a Motorcycle Officer. He did this on his own time but with PD equipment. Truth be known.
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Jul 22, 11 2:59 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By guest (68), Bridgehampton on Jul 23, 11 8:18 PM
To Rondo;
            Boy that warms the cockles of my Irish heart knowing that Sgt Broich attended more funerals than most members of his Department as per your count. Apparently he attended so many that he was dubbed with the name " Motorcycle Officer". It's  very reassuring to learn that he attended these ceremonies with the village's apparatus and on their gas card, I'm surprised he didn't injure himself somehow while volunteering ...more
By MacDuffy (2), Sayville on Jul 23, 11 9:33 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Basil123 (2), Southampton on Jul 21, 11 8:31 PM
this brioche or challa or whatever his name is, is a strange character. running around with his pit bulls in some big weird truck - disabled my toucas. trust me, he's not going to win in court - he's a lost sailor, mentally away to long to remember what it's like to be a productive member of society. unfortunately, this is all coupled with a complete lack of social skills, ability to deal with people, tact and a simple intuition of how the universe works - so much so that he is basically handicapped ...more
By local69 (65), southampton on Jul 23, 11 7:30 AM
3 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By guest (68), Bridgehampton on Jul 23, 11 9:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
As the rest of the world is in shock and horror, Chris has time to smile for a photo... How nice
By guest (68), Bridgehampton on Jul 24, 11 5:52 PM
3 members liked this comment
for what it's worth - the photos aren't of him on the Pile - they are over 4 blocks away in front of a market where a food line had been established.
By sirpoochala (78), Hampton Bays on Jul 25, 11 2:32 PM
since you asked, that wasn't really worth anything at all.
By local69 (65), southampton on Jul 25, 11 4:42 PM
The number of virgin posters appearing on this thread, all highly irate that Officer Broich would take photographs of himself at the Twin Towers, is phenomenal. Since I don't think that the offense(?) merits the antagonism, one has to ask what unspoken issue is motivating them. Could it be that Officer Broich violated the Blue Wall of Silence by exposing misconduct in the Southampton Village P.D. in his legal filings?

I think the photos are just fine. I am, however, appalled at the story ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 27, 11 11:30 AM
The posts do not seem to antagonise or have an unspoken issue motivating them. The what you call "offense?" does merit a response if one is in disagreement with you, the author of this article, or the actions of Mr. Broich. (He is Mr. Broich....Officer or Sgt. Broich was dismissed, fired, removed from his offical title, according to this and past articles)
To Clarify:
1) You believe the photos are "fine." I firmly believe that this former officer and ANY first responder using ...more
By Basil123 (2), Southampton on Jul 28, 11 8:29 PM
I think 10 years later emotions are still very raw on the topic of 9/11 and its aftermath. This article is a bit slanted, it almost makes it seem like Mr. Brioch is collecting benefits that he isnt entitled too from the 9/11 disability program and is now using this turn of events to try and get the money from the villiage that he was unable to obtain through previous litigation.

I don't think it has anything to do with the blue wall of silence and everything do with people being tired ...more
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jul 27, 11 1:19 PM
3 members liked this comment
The man was a good cop.
But he didn't play ball with the old boy network in the village.
By someguy (6), southampton on Jul 27, 11 9:00 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By guest (68), Bridgehampton on Jul 29, 11 9:39 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Jul 29, 11 1:57 PM
you 've been watching tooo many t.j. hooker re-runs dude.
Jul 30, 11 7:33 AM appended by local69
and with all due respect, this isn't really barney miller either...its a tiny little town with a few cops and a couple of buggies for the beach. i mean old boys network..what is the oldest officer about 46. you act as if this is the 182nd precint in the bronx. just so silly, old boys network...the old boys are dead and there are new young guys that have no idea who the old boys are! hahahaha.
By local69 (65), southampton on Jul 30, 11 7:33 AM
to Basil123:

One can debate the propriety of photography at the Twin Towers site or of Officer Broich's continued pursuit of legal redress. However, your peseveration in defending a firefighter's repeated assaults is outrageous. Is it really necessary to argue that it is impermissible violently to attack a citizen while wearing the duty gear of a uniformed public servant? (Even if offended by the citizen's perfectly legal behavior.)

SOMEONE should have stopped him at some ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 29, 11 12:33 AM
to guest:

I've never met Officer Broich and have no knowledge of his behavior other than as described in the article. Your response supports my belief that some of the posts are the product of personal animosity rather a response to the facts therein.

That's OK. However, were personal prejudices revealed going in, the vitriol of the responses would not have been so startling. As it is, they appeared deceptive.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 29, 11 10:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
Dear Highhatsize,

Be thankful you never met him... By the way which i don't believe for a hot second.. He abused his power as an officer and got what he deserved NOTHING. Possible you should tour the little village and ask about the arrogant Broich which is what people called him.. he got his just rewards
By guest (68), Bridgehampton on Aug 1, 11 10:34 PM
yo hh, ever think that if the guy was mother theresa you wouldn't really have all sorts of anon. posters ripping the outcast to pieces? you can stay on your highhat horse for this one, but not knowing the whole situation hasn't stopped on the other 905 comments of yours. if it smells like doody, looks like doody, feels like doody, as my grand-dad used to say...prolly doody. don't get too caught up in the high hat size of yours..sometimes the truth is right there in front of ya. being a fighter ...more
By local69 (65), southampton on Jul 30, 11 7:32 AM
1 member liked this comment