Massena’s rescue squad, town board in standoff over money

WWNY Massena’s rescue squad, town board in standoff over money

MASSENA, N.Y. (WWNY) - It may have started over pizzas, but it’s bigger than that. The Massena Town Board wants a rescue squad volunteer booted.

The town of Massena and its rescue squad volunteers are in a standoff over money.

“Our bookeeper isn’t allowed to just pay a receipt without knowing why,” said Steve O’Shaughnessy, Massena town supervisor.

Most recently that happened with pizza. But it’s also happening with a $22,000 federal grant for the rescue squad. The town wants to know what it will be spent on.

“We can’t just send the money to a Massena Rescue Squad donation slush fund,” said O’Shaughnessy.

Rescue squad volunteers are frustrated.

One of them, Erik Hondusky, who’s also a board member there, posted on Facebook about the town rejecting pizza bills. He suggested picketing or maybe not answering calls.

He later said that was just a “what if” to drive home a point.

In response, the town board held an emergency meeting and demanded he be removed.

Michael Abrunzo, Massena Volunteer Emergency Unit president and CEO issued this statement:

“We are extremely offended at the gall of Mr. O’Shaughnessy and his board in demanding that Erik Hondusky be removed.”

Neither Abrunzo nor Hondudsky would go on camera Monday. But Hondusky said he’s being attacked for simply exercising free speech. He sent a Facebook message to 7 News over the weekend saying, “Pizza is the least of the issues, more about lack of respect.”

Massena Rescue volunteers will be meeting Wednesday to discuss all this.

So the town’s demands are by no means the end of this story.

The town board also wants the Facebook posts taken down as well as an apology.

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