Posts Tagged fire department layoffs

Peoria Fire Department news (more)

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The Peoria City Council approved a settlement with the union that represents the city’s firefighters that will allow one of the fire houses that was to be closed to remain open for six months. The vote was 9-1 and involved Local 50 dropping an unfair labor practice grievance it had filed against the city two years ago in return for the city keeping Station 20 open in far north Peoria. Local 50 had won on the appellate level but agreed to give up the $500,000 judgment it got in return for the firehouse to remain open. That judgment is roughly the cost of keeping a fire house and its accompanying truck open for about six months.

Also part of the settlement was an agreement to have no layoffs through March 30. Earlier this fall, the city shuttered two fire houses as a way to close a budget hole created by the COVID-19 pandemic. City hall would also have to keep 44 union spots for each shift. If that wasn’t possible with the existing personnel, then it would have to be filled through overtime.

The suit stemmed from an agreement made between the firefighters and the city in 2017 in the wake of brownouts that were instituted to help close a budgetary shortfall. Local 50 said the brownouts were an unfair labor practice as the agreement eliminated some unfilled positions in return for keeping the fire apparatus online.

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Peoria Fire Department news (more)

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One of the two shuttered fire houses in the city could come back online until March 2021 under a proposed agreement by the local firefighters union, but whether city hall, which took two engines offline as a way to save money during the pandemic, accepts the deal is unknown.

Peoria Firefighters Union Local 50, said the they would drop an unfair labor practice lawsuit and use the anticipated $500,000 judgment they had won to help replace one fire engine. The deal would also call for the addition of seven firefighter positions which could be staffed through overtime or the hiring of new employees. 

The two sides have been in a series of negotiations since April over how many fire trucks would remain in service. The negotiations kicked into high gear after the council voted in late August to cut the two engines and shutter Stations 4 and 20.

The estimated cost to staff a fire engine is about $1.1 million. The union’s decision to forego the $600,000 is about half that, or six months, which would push a final decision out to March. The deal, however, still has to get council approval, which could come at a special meeting since the budgetary cuts are supposed to take effect on Oct. 1.

It wasn’t clear which engine would come back as part of this deal. Station 4 was to close on Oct. 1, while Station 20 was to close at some time yet to be determined. The union had been bargaining with the city for weeks to save jobs and keep fire houses open. The elimination of a fire truck often results in the closure of a house.

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Peoria Fire Department news (more)

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An attempt to reverse the planned budget-related cuts of two Peoria Fire Department engines fell short Tuesday night, after the city council unanimously agreed to issue $4 million in working cash bonds to keep the Peoria Civic Center afloat.

A District 2 council member proposed increasing the city’s borrowing to $15 million as a way to save fire department engines 4 and 20, and 22 associated positions. That $15 million figure represented an additional $1 million beyond the $10 million proposed earlier this month and the $4 million for the Civic Center. The proposal contingent on the firefighters’ union agreeing to a $500,000 settlement of a pending unfair labor practices appeal.

After firefighters’ union president Ryan Brady said he would need seven days to hear from his members on the willingness to agree to a settlement, the legality of that contingency raised some question, with one suggesting it might be a quid pro quo. The council eventually consulted with the city attorney in a 30-minute executive session prior to the vote. But those who opposed the plan said the issue already had been decided.

Money to repay the $4 million, 10-year bond for the civic center will come from hotel, restaurant, and amusement tax dollars. The civic center does not have the authority to issue its own bonds.

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Peoria Fire Department news (more)

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The Peoria Fire Department is losing 22 firefighter positions. Thursday, councilman Denis Cyr explained why he voted yes on the proposal to decommission two engine companies, after voting no the previous week.

He chose the best option for his constituents who consistently tell him they are tired of paying higher taxes and fees. His goal is to be fiscally responsible, but in order to keep the taxes, services needed to be cut. He was in favor of closing two engine companies. He did not want to close the company in his district, but left it up to Peoria Fire Chief Tony Ardis who said it will be Engine 4 and Engine 20.

Cyr said he has been getting a lot of heat from the community, but he cannot please everyone. He adds he has also received good feedback from people who are against higher taxes.

From Peoria Firefighters Local 50 Facebook page:

It is clear what the priorities of the City Council are. Its never been so starkly clear. 6 positions in 2016. 18 positions in 2019. 22 positions as of tonight. 46 positions in 4 years.…/council-cuts-two-peoria-fire-engin…

Last night, six members of the Peoria City Council voted to reduce the Peoria Fire Department by permanently closing two fire engines and eliminating 22 firefighter positions. Fortunately or unfortunately, Peoria Firefighter/Paramedics are already working short staffed so the number of actual layoffs could be as few as 8. These dedicated men and women have not only faced the COVID 19 Pandemic head on, but also the dangers associated with being a firefighter. Please take a look below as they are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, coaches, mentors, City of Peoria residents, and there to help in your time of need!! Oh, and one of them is currently overseas defending our country on active duty in the military! This is irresponsible and slap in the face to them as they have called Peoria home!!

Accompanying the closures of Station 20 on Wilhelm Road and Station 4 on SW Jefferson, 22 positions and 8 layoffs are acceptable by a majority of the City Council. The Council continues to brutalize the Firefighters. #EssentialNotEssential

City leaders have said time and time again that “fires are only three percent” of what we respond to in a calendar year. For the third time in just as many days, Peoria Fire Department resources are stretched thin again leaving large holes across the city for limited response coverage due to a fire and a vehicle rollover. Imagine for a moment in less than thirty days, our city will have two less fire engines and twenty two less firefighters. This is reckless and irresponsible!!! Please voice your opinion to help overturn this dangerous situation! #Local50#ThereWhenYouNeedUsMost

ACT FRIDAY: Every standard ever written is usually written because of a tragedy or a loss. Why policy makers can’t understand that or choose to ignore it is completely baffling. You cannot cut or reduce Public Safety without affecting the public’s safety because it doesn’t fit your story, narrative or position. The standard is clear and Peoria is substandard throughout the city. If you don’t have a standard emergency travel time of 4 minutes to where you and your loved ones live and sleep, you should be asking why that is acceptable. And if you are soon to have your substandard response time tanked further, you should be asking why that is acceptable. And if you don’t know if you do or not, your District, At-Large and Mayoral representatives should be able to inform you. They have b

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Peoria Fire Department news

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One week after voting down a plan to borrow $10 million and decommission two fire engines to balance Peoria’s budget, a divided city council has approved the proposal. The city staff’s recommended budget restructuring in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic passed on a 6-5 count. Four council members remained opposed to the fire cuts. One said the cuts will damage Peoria’s ability to provide the safety a city of its size requires.

The engines slated to be cut are Engine 4 from the south side’s Jefferson station and Engine 20 on Wilhelm in the far north area of the city. Along with the engine cuts, 17 firefighter positions will be eliminated, however five firefighters accepting the voluntary separation incentive passed last week could reduce the number of layoffs.

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