LOCKPORT, NY (WKBW) -- Michael Collette has served as an officer, firefighter, and paramedic with the Lockport Fire Department and has been part of that team for 20 years, receiving many awards for his accomplishments. He says the current investigation is not what it seems. "Everybody looks at me like I've done something terribly wrong and I haven't," Collette said.
He says ever since he injured his back on the job last year he was put on worker's compensation, collecting disability checks. Because of his side business and being in the latest Keanu Reeves movie "Henry's Crime" as a security guard chasing criminals, he's being investigated. "I had been cleared to do work within the restrictions of my doctor and the movie which a lot of the buzz is around me being in, is not even the issue. I've been cleared to work to a certain capacity and I reported that work to worker's compensation," Collette said.
The issue he says is he can't lift the required weight for the job at the fire department and the department doesn't have 'light duty' for workers in his situation. "I've stated from day one that I've wanted to get back to work and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to go back to work," Collette said. "In the real public sector I would already be back to work where in the sector of the fire department there's nothing for me there."
The City of Lockport Mayor Mike Tucker says otherwise, and that the Fire Board is investigating Collette's actions. And regardless of all the details, the mayor says the overall picture is clear. "If you're on comp it's because you can't work so you can't have your hands in both jars. Either you're healthy or you're not healthy. You can't have it both ways," Mayor Tucker said. "You can't be drawing money over here from the state and want to work at the same time. Either you do one or the other. To me one is in direct conflict of the other."
The investigation continues and a hearing should be scheduled over the next couple weeks.