Layoffs are hitting a Delaware County fire department after Liberty Township trustees voted to make the painful cuts, after voters rejected a levy last month.
Officials said that Monday night’s decision to lay off four firefighters was not easy, but it also was not a surprise after last month’s defeat.
The chief says combined with vacancies that would not be filled, amounting to 10 positions being eliminated. The department has now lost 20-percent of its staff over the last year.
The township has moved to put an emergency levy on the ballot in February, but it will not come soon enough to save the four firefighters.
“Those four firefighters, I swore in,” Liberty Township trustee Curt Sybert said. “I feel very badly for them and their families and I know they respect and love this department as much as we all do. But it has to be done.”
Authorities said that even if the February levy passes, the jobs would not be restored.
The strain of this situation showed on everyone attending the meeting Monday night. The head of the firefighters union named the four firefighters who will be losing their jobs, stressing that these are not just dollars and cents, but people and families.
“Michael Murphy, a soldier, served his country proudly,” Local 3754 president Chalaco Clark said. “This is his third layoff. I don't think this is what America is built on, to take care of their soldiers like this. I know this is not our ideal, but the people who voted down this levy need to realize that there are names and faces that go with this."
The layoffs take effect Jan. 11. In the meantime, Chief Tim Jensen told 10TV he was shuffling manpower to keep as many people in trucks and trucks on the road as possible.
Jensen said that this will impact service and while he's trying to minimize it, the extent is still not clear.
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