16 NY firefighter positions cut following budget vote
Union president: “There are going to be negative consequences to these cuts”
By FireRescue1 Staff
OSWEGO, N.Y. — The Oswego City Council unanimously voted Monday to cut 16 full-time firefighter positions.
The decision came after the city has grappled with a $1 million deficit, reported syracuse.com. The council considered raising taxes to compensate for the deficit, but voted in favor of the layoffs.
The deficit was a product of the end of a two-decade long agreement, in which the city was receiving $1 million a year from the sale of a water tunnel.
Prior to the vote, Oswego Firefighters Association Local 126 President John Geraci addressed the council, stating that, “If you make the decision to cut these 16 firefighters, you’re going to need to be able to live with the results. I don’t know if it happens tomorrow or next week or next year, but there are going to be negative consequences to these cuts.”
The Oswego Fire Department has 58 members, but 15 of them will lose their jobs following the vote.
“I hate layoffs and these last few weeks have been the hardest weeks of my life … Especially since some of these guys that were affected I personally know,” Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said.
Barlow’s budget proposal had drawn protests from many in the community who wanted to see the cuts evenly dispersed among other city departments.
Members of the community have been looking for ways to support the fire department, including 8-year-old Owego resident Brooke Trevett. She told her mother she was willing to donate the $30 in her puppy fund to ameliorate the city’s budget deficit.
“My mom said that when you find out a problem, you try to solve a problem,” Brooke told ABC9.
Although Brooke’s efforts went unsuccessful, Barlow said the department can rehire some of the laid off firefighters as part-time employees.