Sycamore Twp. Trustees cut 14 firefighter positions

SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - Sycamore Township Trustees voted unanimously to cut 14 full-time firefighter positions and 70 part-time positions from the fire department.

Township Board of Trustee's President Tom Weidman says the decision was the only other option available and he did not want to put a levy on the ballot for voters to decide.

"A clear majority of people said the same thing to me, they don't want a levy...they are tired of paying more money," says Weidman.

The cuts were approved based on a proposal by Sycamore Township Fire Chief William Jetter.

Jetter wrote a letter on May 2 to township trustees to lay off all part-time employees, reduce and restructure the full-time personnel, eliminate the assistant chief-fire prevention position and reduce operation costs to $450,000.

According to fire chief's plan it would leave about 12 full-time firefighters on the job.

Weidman says no one wants to layoff workers but, the township just doesn't have the money to support that many firefighters since the state cut back on funding to local governments.

Sycamore Township Local 3907 President Kelby Thoreson says the administration has not been willing to work with the department and the union to try and sit down to come up with another solution.

"We were blind sided by the letter, we found out about it two weeks ago in a trustees meeting...and they denied us a copy of the proposal," says Thoreson.

Ohio Professional Firefighters Association President Mark Sanders says the trustees cannot just disregard the current contract between the township and the union.

"We're going to take every action that we can to make sure that they get their day in court," says Sanders.

According to Weidman part-time employees will be officially laid-off June 14, followed by full-time employees on June 28. Full-time employees will have the option to be re-hired by the department to work part-time.

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