Monday, May 25, 2009

Firefighters Saved as Council Tables Budget

News-Journal OP-ED

Last Thursday evening, Mayor Baker’s controversial FY 2010 budget was sent to City Council for its approval. Prior to the meeting, many believed that passage would be a shoe-in. However, the prospect of losing 8 city firefighters was a major concern for many city council members, and during voting it became clear that the budget would not pass. The vote was tabled for one week, allowing the city and firefighters’ union more time to remedy the problem.

The city wants firefighters to accept a compromise “no salary increase/no layoff” plan, which administration says would avoid the need to layoff firefighters during FY 2010.

Kevin Turner, President of Wilmington Firefighters Local 1590, has indicated that the major stumbling block deals with the “no layoff” language in the proposed agreement. Although probationary firefighters are not yet represented by the union, Turner, an Engine Lieutenant, wants the city to guarantee that the newbies won’t be bumped.

I call upon the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Bill Montgomery and Local 1590 President Kevin Turner to move quickly in reaching a tentative agreement, much like the one announced by FOP Lodge #1 last week. There is a very short window of opportunity, and tabling the budget again is not an option.

City Council came to the rescue -- please show them that it was a meaningful save.

Lou Angeli
Public Safety Advocate

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