Michigan City Council Votes To Layoff Entire Fire Department

Reprinted with Permission

ALLEN PARK, Mich. - Allen Park hoped to experience economic growth from the state's booming movie industry.

However, after Unity Studios recently left the city, Allen Park is facing serious debt and is trying to avoid laying off fire and police services.

"The city is really in deep trouble and there is going to be massive layoffs with both the police and fire, and I want to fight to keep their jobs," said Dr. Robert Armstead, of Allen Park.

Armstead said he spent months going over the numbers. He said he can't believe the city is strapped for cash because it planned on the movie industry to save the day.

"There are so many people that are upset will all of this," said Armstead. "If they really knew all the facts, they'd be really upset."

In 2009, the city purchased a building for a movie studio, selling off more than $25 million in bonds.

However, Jimmy Lifton, president of Unity Studios, Oracle Post and Lifton Institute for Media Skills, did not have the financial backing he promised, the city said.

Now, Allen Park may have to make major fire and police cuts to avoid falling further in debt.

Allen Park City Council met Tuesday night to discuss moving forward.

Copyright 2011 by ClickOnDetroit.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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2 words;
Union Busting.

Any surrounding departments that are willing to *fill in* are only assisting in the effort.
FD strikes are illegal (and typically contractually prohibited), but an entire department LAID OFF?
Take the pink slips. Shut down the houses. See whose balls are bigger.
Jack you're dead on the money.
I don't think thats the reason. Majority of firefighters in America are volunteer. Union paid firefighters only make up a small portion of fire departments.

The city had no business taking out 25 million in bond debt. Where the heck were the local voters? The idea should have died when first introduced, following that, the mayor and commissioners should be headed for jail, or be held personally responsible for the debt.

Again, primary purpose of local, state and national government is to provide the basics of safety and certain public infrastructure. Governments have WAY overreached who and what they are! Primary!!!! are, police, fire, water, sewer, roads. Then, and only then if the majority of the voters agree, do they dare venture into additional funtions, but with the understanding that the primaries are not negotiable, period!! Everything else gets shut down before the basics. The basics are the last to go!! mayor's salary goes before police, fire, water, sewer. Get rid of mayor and commissioners. Fire chief and chief of police can run the town.

Same thing going on in Wisconsin. Time for governement to get out of the business of 5000 social programs and other stupid stuff, and stick to the basics. Fire, police, water, sewer, roads. Then if, and only if, the voters ask for more and are willing to pay for more, are other things added! Time to take our country back!

What does it matter if the majority of ff's are vollies? Allen Park wants to lay off its entire fire department, AFTER concessions had already been made to the tune of $800,000 give back. And then hold their feet to the fire to make a new *contract*.

Time to take our country back! From who? If this this issue reflects a greater one (such as Wisconsin is experiencing) then it is indeed the right working to bust unions as a favor to big business. And while unions are often demonized as greedy lobbyists, 40 hour work week, mandatory time and a half over 40, weekends, vacations, health insurance, pensions, workplace safety and minimum wage were ALL brought about as a direct result of unions. There is a clear effort on the part of *fiscal conservatives* to reduce municipal spending by eliminating public unions, which will shortly be followed by the elimination of private sector unions. And who benefits? Big business/business owners and the politicians they own.

Back to Allen Park: None of the articles I've read indicated that there was a regime change in the local government so the bigger question is; Who failed to perform their due diligence on the credibility of Lifton? Why was a building that was valued at $14 million bought for $25 million? Who owned that building? Was it cronyism?

Let's talk about taking our country back, one town, one state at a time. Let's talk about rampant mismanagement, malfeasance and incompetence on the part of politicians who have proven time and again that the only real thing that matters to them is to be reelected (and to line their pockets from big business and lobbyists).

With regard to your assessment as to the reach of government and it's responsibilities, consider social security, medicare/medicaid, unemployment and workman's compensation insurance(s), OSHA, FLSA, Child Labor Laws and a myriad of other *intrusions* on the part of *big* government (not to mention NFPA).

And if you believe it's time to get out of social programs, what makes you think that fire and police protection AREN'T social programs? They are for the common good so that pretty much makes them a social program in my book. Any city that has rampant (or even partial) poverty issues means that those people (the poor ones) aren't paying a dime in taxes that provide fire and police protection yet they not only avail themselves of those services but in many instances are the primary consumers of those services. And even among those that do pay their taxes, is the cost evenly distributed? I guess it all depends on how well you can reduce your personal tax liability.

According to your way of thinking, ANY social service (one provided to ANYONE at no point-of-purchase payment) should be done away with. So let's make fire and police pay-to-play.
You know, the pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of a thing. Privatize fire and police protection; only those with the money will be protected, insured and healthy. Not unlike most cities around the turn of the 20th century.
That was my point as well. Laying off the entire fire department, then finding someone cheaper to replace them gets the city out of their requirement to pay their previous good faith negotiated salaries. (Don't blame the firefighters, the city and their lawyers agreed to those terms) It also gets the city out of their responsibility of the firefighter retirement benefits as well. Now by laying off a few, or reduction through attrition, etc. then that would be working together, but laying off the entire department and mentioning, to seek a contracted protection service is clearly union busting.

It would be like laying off your entire workforce in any given profession, so the boss can save some money by hiring a bunch of illegal aliens, to work for a third of the cost of what you currently do it for.

Could a VFD cover Allen? Yes, professional volunteer firefighters are highly capable, the question is if they had a paid department before, I suspect there was a reason... and a VFD might not be able to handle the call volume. Ask a vollie to leave work 5 or 10 times a shift, and see how fast his or her personal wallet is affected.

As Jack mentions, nearby towns, or communities that agree on mutual aid or automatic aid need to be careful.
I agree that the city hall dwellers never seem to make cuts to their staffs and cronies. They go after the Emergency Services folks, but when the stuff hits the fan who do they all call - Police/Fire and EMS. If something goes bad they blame the agency or the management of it and do a study on how to fix it.

How many Deputy Mayors, spokespersons, administrative assistants, full staffs for council members, etc does one need when essential services are being cut? Did the politicians not learn anything in the fall elections? The comments about busting unions is right on. How many companies did this with NAFTA years ago? Now the companies are dumping South American countries and going to China, Japan and other Asian countries, yet prices still remain high for us folks back home and the fat cats just get fatter.

Please excuse my rambling but enough is enough and if it does not get any better I would bet that this country may see many more protest and uprisings by the people.
Isn't the meaning of "Mutual Aid", to help render assistance ? How can you give aid/assistance to a dept. that doesn't have ANY members ? Maybe those politicians in Allen Park need to do a few ride alongs and see what these people really do for their community. The people of Allen Park need to step up and tell the managers they want what they are paying for. My .02
This just shows contempt for the saftey of their citizens! They should remove themsleves from the payroll, after all they are not neccessay! Firfighters are the most needed profession a juristictin could have. Watch for this all across the Country as the past mistakes of failed leadership becomes more evident!
Wow I just had a thought. They could raise money by...filming a movie about the situation! They could film it on location in Hollywood and use out of work actors to play the part of firefighters. They could hire the governor of Wisconsin and the mayor of Camden as consultants. All the proceeds could go to the AACS (American Association of Committees and Societies).
This is just bad. Why the politicians cut the emergency responders out when there are other things that could probably be cut. I don't know it just seems like when disasters happen they love us and want our help but when economic sh*t hits the fan they take it on us. Grrr. ... At this moment can't do anything about it. Prayers to our brothers that are about to be laid off.

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