Covington commissioners vote to cut fire dept. positions

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - Covington city commissioners voted to eliminate seven positions in the fire department during a meeting on Tuesday night.

Presentations to reorganize city hall and the fire department were also delivered.

Acting Fire Chief Dan Mathew must figure out how to save $600,000 this year.

During the meeting, City Commissioner Shawn Masters said, "We are broke."

He was a lonely vote in a four to one decision to reduce the Fire Department through attrition, meaning retirements, resignations and promotions.

"Personnel issues should be handled behind closed doors and not on Facebook. It's my opinion you hate city employees," said Charlene Dietz.

People like Dietz are angry over Commissioner Steve Frank posting a comment on his Facebook page. Frank voted 'yes' and was supported by a few in the crowd for his service to the city.

"Commissioner Frank, since his name has been brought up, has been served unselfishly, has made a commitment, and has told us the hard truth many times when we didn't want to hear it," said Barry Johnson.

Interim Fire Chief Matthews proposed the idea to remove three captains, one lieutenant, one engineer and two firefighters and control overtime for a savings of more than $600,000.

Two thirds of the city's budget is dedicated to public safety, 33 percent to both police and fire. Compared to nearby cities, Covington spends the most on public safety.

"I just ran some basic data myself and looking at the other class two cities, we're actually one of the cheapest per run since we're one of the busies departments in the state," said Jimmy Adams.

FOX19 will continue to follow this story and any potential cuts or restructuring of city government.

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