Union leaders say there will be five fewer men on the job at any given time under the 2014 budget. Meaning there will be fewer firefighters to respond to your emergencies.
Jeremy Bush, president, Fort Wayne Professional Fire Fighters Union, pressured city council to reconsider passing the proposed 2014 budget.
“I don't know how we can say we are strengthening public safety when we are taking five fire fighters off the streets,” said Bush.
Last spring, city council approved an increase to the local option income tax. The tax hike added an additional 15 firefighters. However, the union feels blindsided by the 2014 budget, because it reduces the departments overtime fund. The cut translates to five fewer firefighters per shift.
“This compromises citizen’s safety and this compromises firefighters safety,” said Bush.
“We personally did our job diligently, honestly and forthrightly,” said City Council President Tom Didier.
Didier is takingBush's jabs to heart. He says the council has been upfront throughout the entire process.
“The members of the city council are forthright and their integrity is in tact,” said Didier.
The budget passed. Councilman Mitch Harper was the only member to vote against it.
Bush says that he expected the budget to pass, but he's now asking city council appropriate funds back to the fire department.
Bush cotends that they will need about $1 million to maintain their current staffing levels.