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Firefighters’ Union Calls Out Mayor for Shutting Down Fire Stations

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From Eric Zahn, President Lawrence Firefighter’s Union

LAWRENCE – In response to Mayor Rivera’s recent statement in the Eagle Tribune on Sunday April 26, 2014, the Lawrence Firefighters’ Union Local 146 would like to add the following information.

A budgetary miscalculation done last year is the reason why our budget is coming up short. To say that it is the fault of the union members “unforeseen retirements and contract language” is a complete misrepresentation of the problem.

Our budget is NOT completely strapped. There IS money in there we feel will get us closer to the end of the fiscal year. The mayor feels otherwise.

HIS decision to “Brown out” pieces of apparatus whenever our minimum number of employees is below 24, while it saves money in hiring overtime, it also shuts down a front line piece of what is already a department running shorthanded.

It’s unimaginable that a city with a conservative population of 76,000 people is only protected with 3 engines or 1 ladder at times.

While we do know that the city has a financial responsibility to its citizens, it also had a greater responsibility to provide continued safety to each & every citizen and it’s firefighters.

When the mayor mentions the statement that if everybody “shows up to work we should have no issues at all” it is also misleading.

If the fire department wasn’t running short-staffed to begin with, this might be the case.

Our members have the same typical hardships that arise with any average family. Kids get sick, family members get sick and employees get sick or injured.

It is an irresponsible statement to place the blame for one member not “showing up for work” being the reason for a piece of apparatus having to be shut down for the shift.

We, as a union will continue to “show up to work” and do our very best to provide a level of safety the citizens of Lawrence have become accustomed to.

Anybody who has seen the news from this past winter knows that we are a busy department. It is not easy to do our jobs with less people.

We urge the mayor and his staff to find alternative ways out of a situation not created by members of this union.

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover Massachusetts, a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, a 1990 Police Survivor and hosts the Paying Attention! Radio Program on 980WCAP in Lowell, Massachusetts. You can email your comments to valleypatriot@aol.com.

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3 Responses to Firefighters’ Union Calls Out Mayor for Shutting Down Fire Stations

  1. Bill Reply

    May 17, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    It appears that between the “permanent ” station closures and the brownouts that the members of the LFD are not public safety officers, according to Mayor Rivera’s definition.

    And now he wants or is thinking of leasing closed stations to the LGH, what a nightmare for the LGH services to start with. Lets pit one against another.

    By the way this has been tried before, go over to Lowell and Oxford, and the “New” Station in the industrial park. Once they are in they are in.

  2. Lisa Reply

    May 19, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    Ok so shouldn’t the budget miscalculation be The Lantigua administrations fault ? Since he was mayor last year. And wasn’t Lantigua the one who laid off the firemen and closed the fire houses. Because he wanted to use the money elsewhere ? I just don’t get why all the blame is being put on Rivera when he only took office 4 months ago.

  3. S Reply

    May 19, 2014 at 8:20 AM

    I must say that the Fire Dept. BECAME SHORT STAFFED, due to the Previous Mayor, Lantigua who fired everyone, closed stations for his and his cronies personal gain.
    So its a bad idea to let a well staffed company rent out un- used buildings? He clearly goes on and says that when The City gets up the amount of money needed Fire Fighters get rehired.

    Do you not see that:

    “Our budget is NOT completely strapped. There IS money in there we feel will get us closer to the end of the fiscal year. The mayor feels otherwise.”

    Yes they may be money but is it enough to continue into the next year? So why use it up when you can add to it and then when you start to be more financially secure is when people start to get hired and more so.

    Do you not see that Money is going to be brought in to afford and manage more Firemen? Lawrence isn’t paying LGH to use the space so I don’t see the problem here. Money has to come from somewhere, you know the money that was taken from the city by the Other mayor.
    I think it is funny how people think that One Mayor who obliterated the Fire and Police Departments, is corrupt, never cared for the city is amazing, and the New Mayor whose trying to fix it sucks.

    Have a Nice Day.

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