Prescott votes to appeal benefits awarded to Hotshot's family - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Prescott votes to appeal benefits awarded to Hotshot's family

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Andrew and Juliann Ashcraft Andrew and Juliann Ashcraft
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PRESCOTT, AZ (CBS5) -

The Prescott city council voted 4-2 Tuesday night to appeal a decision by the city's retirement board to award full death benefits for the family of a fallen Granite Mountain Hotshot.

The move comes the day after the city observed the one-year anniversary of the deaths of the 19 Hotshots.

Juliann Ashcraft told CBS 5 News Tuesday night that she is disappointed and vowed she will continue "to fight for what's right."

"It's sad we have to continue this pursuit even after the anniversary," she said.

Ashcraft she wasn't surprised by the timing, following such an emotional observance.

"I don't think anyone was trying to be nasty or make this difficult," Ashcraft said. "I think they didn't want to be the ones to shoulder any blame when talking to Prescott taxpayers."

The notice of appeal is scheduled to be filed on Wednesday in Yavapai County Superior Court.

"Unfortunately I feel like this could be an epidemic in the Hotshot community - that they are undervalued, underappreciated and underbenefitted, and I think this opens up the voice for Hotshots," Ashcraft told CBS 5 News.

It was just in May that the Prescott Board of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System voted to approve the benefits for Andrew Ashcraft's family.

Ashcraft's widow had filed a claim that he should be eligible for participation in the state's PSPRS, which has a higher payout than the Arizona State Retirement System the city placed him in, and that the family is entitled to survivor benefits.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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