Fall River Fire Department Lieutenant and School Committee Member Joshua Hetzler has filed a complaint for injunctive relief, permanent relief and jury demand against the city of Fall River.
Hetzler believes the city's newly enacted charter violates his rights under the first amendment to serve on the school committee.
A provision in the new charter prohibits a school committee member or any other elected official from holding any compensated city position would include Hetzler as a firefighter.
Corporation Counsel Joseph Macy issued an opinion of November of 2017 that Hetzlers term as a member of the school committee was governed by the previous charter and he would be able to serve it out.
Back in June, Macy issued another opinion saying if Hetzler ran and was re-elected in November he would have to choose between the two positions.
WSAR News spoke with Hetzler about this issue.
"This country was founded on a principle that you can elect anyone and anyone can serve and no have to give up their livelihood," he said. "Especially for a position such as school committee which is part-time. If it was two full-time positions I could see the conflict of interest - I can't be the mayor and fire fighter at the same time, right. But when it comes part-time I don't think there’s any issue in serving in both capacities."
The first hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction is set for October 3 at 3:00 p.m in courtroom 13 before District Judge Leo Dorokin in the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston
"Hopefully they can come to some decisions soon," Hetzler said. "Obviously, I want it to be in my favor. We'll see what the city decides to do. If a preliminary injunction is ruled in my favor maybe the city says were not going to fight this and allow me to serve."
Hetzler believes since the school committee position is non-partisan there should be no conflict of interest.
"Sometimes I believe they say, if a government has an interest in it if its partisan," he claimed. "So, in Fall River where city council and school committee are non-partisan that has no weight. In that light, it furthers my argument. There's no conflict of interest and no reason why I shouldn’t serve."