Grand Island fire union reacts to proposed budget cuts
Grand Island, Neb. —
The Grand Island firefighters union released a statement Sunday, expressing their opposition to proposed budget cuts.
“The proposed cuts are not based in a reality that is safety focused, nor were they arrived at by public safety professionals. Instead, bean counters from city hall, with little to no experience in protecting the public have devised arbitrary reductions to the fire department,” said a post on the Grand Island Firefighters IAFF Local 647 Facebook page.
Without recommended changes, the city would be $2 million in the hole to start the 2021 budget year, according to the city administrator.
Recommended changes to the fire department include eliminating two positions. Two open positions would remain vacant and two would retire, leaving six less firefighters with the department.
"City leaders want to use semantics and political double talk to make cuts to Police and Fire sound harmless. Whether the politicians call it a “layoff” or “not filling a position”, the result is the same – Public Safety, the safety of your neighborhood, is jeopardized,” the union stated on Facebook.
Mayor Jeremy Jensen posted his own statement on Facebook on Friday, laying out salaries for public safety and public works employees.
“I can assure you all of one thing: I won’t dance around the facts. The union contracts that we abide by are going to break this city if we don’t step up and fix it now. We can’t have someone sitting in my office at City Hall that wants to puff out their chest and brag that we haven’t raised taxes and haven’t cut jobs. The math won’t work,” he said.
Grand Island police union president Jarret Daugherty commented below, “So the social media thing must have been a one sided deal.”
The Nebraska FOP Lodge #24 said they would make a statement after Tuesday’s city council meeting on their Facebook page Friday.