All 23 Mich. city volunteer FFs quit at city council meeting
The volunteers claim the city council is gatekeeping resources and creating unbearable working conditions
By Rachel Engel
CHARLOTTE, Mich. — A group of 23 volunteer firefighters quit en masse at a Monday night Charlotte City Council meeting after accusing board members of gatekeeping resources from the fire department, WLNS 6 reported.
According to a designated spokesperson for the firefighters, the group claims the council is unsupportive of the department and has spread “false information” about fire leadership. The group also alleges the council is trying to limit the use of trucks of personnel despite the need for resources.
City Mayor Michael Armitage disagrees with the firefighters’ characterizations.
“I believe that our city manager has been very supportive of our fire chief and the fire chief reports to the city manager,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair to say that city council can never question things when it comes to the budget or operation of any department of the city, which the fire department is.”
Ronald Smith, who was one of the volunteers who quit, said the firefighters still want to serve the community, but with more support.
“We still want to service the community in the same capacity that we always have,” he said. “Our desire is to be out there, helping and saving. But the current mayor and president of the rural fire board have made it unbearable to be part of anymore.”
Due to the dispute, the city has requested area fire departments assist in response to emergencies in Charlotte.
When firefighters quit en masse
In the era of essential worker recognition, many firefighters may wonder, “Why aren’t we being treated better? And why isn’t anyone listening to us?”