24 laid off Lawrence EMTs clear out fire station Monday
EMTs cut to balance budget, mayor defends decision
Last Updated: 221 days ago
LAWRENCE, Ind. - Fire Station 40 in Lawrence was cleared out Monday morning after 24 emergency medical technicians were laid off in a controversial budget-cutting move.
"It is a very bad day for the city of Lawrence and tax payers," said Kris Kell, Local 416 Union Representative. "You have 24 less EMS employees. Their primary responsibility is to provide EMS protection. You lose approximately 20 percent of the fire department workforce. We've been trying to get unemployment down across the country and you have a city laying off people."
Republican councilman Thomas Shevlot told RTV6 the laid off EMTs should probably start seeking other employment.
"In the short term I don't see the 24 EMTs can be brought back in the foreseeable future," said Shevlot.
The lay-off did not escape the attention of folks who utilize the YMCA, which is a half block away from Station 40.
"I think it is a shame that they are doing it," said Lawrence resident Linda Warner. "They are putting a lot of lives in jeopardy. I think there are other ways to cut costs without cutting our medical response people."
Lawrence Mayor Dean Jessup is committed to this plan and says public safety will not be jeopardized.
There was talk that $700,000 from the Special Non-Reverting Fund could be used to pay for the EMT salaries, but that seems to be a non-starter.
"(The mayor is) not going to do one-time funds for operating," said Keith Johnson, Jessup's deputy chief of staff. "Operating funds should be what you take in every year and what you can spend. One-time funds should be for special purposes, not for operating."
The budget must be passed by Nov. 1.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.