NYC’s first female, openly gay FDNY chaplain awarded huge promotion with $169K pay

Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh has named a pastor with no medical expertise to run the FDNY’s counseling providers for firefighters and medics struggling with mental-health issues — an appointment that may require the division to rent one other licensed supervisor at taxpayer expense to plug the hole.

Kavanagh tapped Ann Kansfield, the FDNY’s first feminine and openly gay chaplain, as chief of the division’s Counseling Services Unit, which runs a workers of psychologists and therapists who conduct screening, evaluation and therapy of job candidates and ailing first-responders.

Kansfield, 48, whom Kavanagh has known as her “spiritual muse” — served as certainly one of 9 FDNY chaplains, final yr amassing $39,809 in wage and additional time.

kansfield in uniform speaking at a microphone at a podium with a wall of fdny logos behind her
Kansfield will function chief of the Counseling Services Unit. Stephen Yang

As CSU director, her wage will soar to $159,650, officers stated.

An FDNY officer blasted Kansfield’s appointment as “another example of a friend of Kavanagh receiving a high-paying job at the expense of the citizens of New York,” saying it is going to additional erode morale within the rank-and-file.

Kavanagh defended her determination.

“As our first responders face an unprecedented mental health crisis, they deserve strong managers with a proven track record of dedication to the FDNY and the mental health of all our members,” Kavanagh stated in a press release to The Post.

“Reverend Kansfield has spent nearly a decade doing just that for the FDNY, and was clearly the best candidate for the role. Her experience, skill and compassion will pay huge dividends for the FDNY.”

Unlike her predecessors, Kansfield will not be licensed as a psychologist or therapist — a legally required qualification to oversee clinicians.

Kansfield will carry out administrative duties and handle the unit, whereas a number of licensed underlings — together with an extra medical director to be employed — will oversee the therapy.

She can even do outreach to encourage troubled first-responders to hunt assist, stated FDNY spokesman Jim Long.

kavanagh in a brown jacket and white top holding a microphone and standing at a podium
Commissioner Laura Kavanagh defended her determination to advertise Kansfield, regardless of her not being licensed as a psychologist or therapist. Matthew McDermott

Fire Lt. Andrew Kane, a licensed social worker, will be Kansield’s deputy, Long said.

As interim director, Kane’s last salary was $118,056, but he collected $217,676 with overtime and other compensation. 

In addition, the FDNY plans to hire a new co-clinical director to serve with Shveta Mittal, an administrative psychologist making $145,000 a year.

That position has yet to be posted, Long said.

Critics suggest that Kansfield’s friendship with Kavanagh, more than her qualifications, helped her land the job.

“Having someone with technical expertise and experience far outweighs what the typical ‘political appointee’ can bring to the table,” said Glenn Corbett, an associate professor of fire science and public management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“We want qualified leadership in those roles,” agreed George Contreras, a veteran NYC paramedic and John Jay adjunct professor of public health and emergency management.

But he added, “I’m sure it’s not the first time that things like that happen in City Hall.”

Kansfield quit her job as a stockbroker who worked for several companies, including one in the World Trade Center, a day before 9/11, she said in an FDNY podcast.

Afterwards, she decided to change course.

She obtained a master’s degree in divinity at New Brunswick Theological Seminary in 2004, and has since served as the pastor of the Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn.

Under ex-fire commissioner Daniel Nigro, she joined the FDNY as a chaplain in 2015, calling it “my dream job.”

“During this time, I have had the opportunity to build trust and goodwill and I hope the members already know how much I love and care for them,” Kansfield said in a city press release. “I’m excited to build on that trust and play a more direct role in ensuring our members have access to mental health care.”

Kavanagh said the chaplain is “uniquely qualified” to serve as CSU director, after nine years of  “helping  members and families in their time of need.”

a grieving firefighter hugs another at a funeral
An FDNY firefighter grieves on the funeral of a fellow member per week after the Sept. 11 assaults. Freelance

The commissioner also said the chaplain “started, owned and operated a family therapy practice.”

However, the release doesn’t explain that Kansfield’s wife, Jennifer Aull, is the founder and director of North Brooklyn Marriage & Family Therapy, which doesn’t mention Kansfield on its web site.

Kansfield did administrative work for her spouse’s follow, Long stated.

She begins the brand new job on June 6.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button