Lawrence mayor cuts 20 EMT positions to make up $2M budget deficit

5 employees from other departments cut

LAWRENCE, Ind. - Deep budget cuts in Lawrence will leave more than two dozen people without jobs, including 20 emergency medical technicians with the Lawrence Fire Department.

Lawrence Mayor Dean Jessup announced Friday that 20 EMTs will be laid off Oct. 15 and five other employees from other city departments will be cut.

In addition, six currently vacant positions will remain unfilled, the mayor said.

Jessup is attempting to make up a $2 million budget shortfall that could have caused the city to run out of funds by December.

Jeff Coats, a member of the Lawrence City Council, said many council members are opposed to Jessup's approach, which he said marginalizes the city's public safety responsibilities.

"Metaphorically speaking, the city's budget is in dire need of a weight loss plan," Coats said in a news release Friday. "The majority of the city council believes we can achieve this through an aggressive but responsible 'diet' -- not through the amputation of the city's right arm."

Coats said the council has suggested other remedies to the budget crisis, including selling off unused assets, privatizing trash collection and restructuring employees' health insurance plans, but Jessup has not acted upon any of the suggestions.

A spokesperson for the mayor's office said despite the cuts in EMT personnel, residents will not see a change in services. The city will have the same number of fire stations and trucks in operation, but will send out crews of three instead of four.

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