Our attorneys represent regional, national and international EMS companies and volunteer ambulance organizations, as well as fire districts and volunteer fire departments that serve their respective communities. We counsel these organizations on a diverse array of matters including operational issues, labor and employment law, regulatory compliance, and negotiating and drafting contracts with municipalities, hospitals and other not-for-profit entities.
Harris Beach attorneys counsel EMS and fire protection providers on a full range of legal services to meet their corporate and business law requirements. We draft and revise corporate by-laws, as well as provide director training programs including guidance on director liability. We are available to attend board meetings as requested to assist boards in taking actions in conformity with the entity’s organizational documents and applicable law. We also assist clients with the development and review of standard operating procedures and guidelines.
Our attorneys have considerable experience helping service providers negotiate and draft contracts with municipalities, hospitals and other not-for-profit entities. We have also represented a wide variety of organizations, including EMS and fire protection providers, in merger and acquisition transactions and tax planning. With respect to tax planning, we recognize that such planning goes beyond routine compliance and preparation of returns and we provide guidance on the tax implications associated with operations and transactions. Our attorneys help EMS and fire protection providers obtain and maintain exempt status from state sales tax and federal income tax where applicable.
Harris Beach has extensive experience with the formation of fire protection districts, fire districts and joint fire districts. Our attorneys counsel clients on options and due process to form a tax or special fee service district and oversee regular meetings with town, village and state attorneys involved in the tax district formation process.
Labor and Employment Law
Harris Beach counsels EMS and fire protection service providers on a broad array of labor and employment matters. We help service providers negotiate union contracts and counsel clients regarding contract administration. Our labor and employment attorneys are noted for their ardent representation and successful track record in negotiating collective bargaining agreements on behalf of our clients. We also negotiate, draft and review individual employment contracts for our private and public sector clients and represent employers in arbitration hearings and appear on behalf of employers at all levels of the court system, the National Labor Relations Board and the Public Employment Relations Board.
Our attorneys represent employers in unfair and improper labor practice charges, disciplinary proceedings and civil service law issues, as well as defending management in employment discrimination claims and Department of Labor matters of all types. We offer legal counsel to employers who are subject to the rules and regulations of employing workers in the public sector, including issues arising from the Taylor Law and the hiring, promotion, discipline, and discharge of employees under the New York Civil Service and Education Laws. We also represent employers in administrative proceedings under these laws.
We review, revise and develop employee handbooks and policies related to sexual harassment, discrimination, social/electronic media use and other workplace issues. Our attorneys also provide day to day guidance and advice to human resource managers on a variety of employee relations concerns including the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, ERISA, wage and hour law, discipline and discharge, drug and alcohol testing, GML 207-a disability claims, union avoidance and unemployment insurance benefits.
Through our statewide representation of over 150 municipalities and agencies of all sizes, our attorneys and consulting professionals have earned a strong reputation for providing creative solutions to their fiscal, operational and economic challenges. We counsel municipal fire districts and departments on compliance matters in connection with their policies and transactions under municipal law.
Harris Beach attorneys and professional staff can provide municipal clients with strategic and analytical advice aimed at achieving greater operational efficiencies. This includes formulating and implementing such measures as inter-municipal and mutual aid agreements, shared services and staff arrangements, early retirement programs, functional consolidations, and the outsourcing of municipal services to private and public providers. Our attorneys and consulting professionals help public sector clients improve organizational structure, communication and overall management with the goal of eliminating redundancies and cutting operational costs.
Harris Beach serves fire departments and districts as bond counsel and tax counsel on municipal general obligation bond financings and tax-exempt financings for fire halls, trucks and apparatus. Our experience includes providing general obligation bond counsel to more than 90 municipalities, as well as fire, school and other local districts throughout New York. As tax counsel, we offer tax advice relating to the structuring of financings to comply with the tax law, addressing on-going arbitrage and rebate issues, determining qualified versus unqualified costs, reviewing reissuance questions, structuring advance refunding escrow transactions and securing private letter rulings for the Internal Revenue Service. We also advise EMS and fire protection service providers on bidding and procurement issues.
Real Property Matters
Our attorneys counsel clients on a broad array of real property matters, including all aspects of site acquisitions, project financing, negotiation of contractual agreements and lease assistance in the local government approval processes, including zoning, subdivision and environmental approvals. Our experience includes helping fire districts navigate New York’s State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process for new and updated facilities.
Harris Beach attorneys counsel and advise EMS providers on compliance issues with state, local and federal governments, as well as agencies involving, but not limited to, certification, establishment and licensing of new operators, obtaining Certificates of Need, Medicare and Medicaid billing processes, and changes in ownership. Our attorneys appear before Regional Emergency Medical Service Councils (REMSCOs) to assist clients with the various issues related to the acquisition of existing ambulance operations or with applying for new geographic area approvals.