How are you going to come to the aid of our brothers


Gary, Ind. Firefighters Battle Pay, Shift Cuts
City Facing $13M Budget Shortfall Cut City Employee Salaries By 20 Percent
Reporting
Pamela Jones GARY, Ind. (CBS) ― The city of Gary, Ind., has a budget deficit of $13 million. So to make ends meet, firefighters and police officers are on furlough.

CBS 2 Northwest Indiana Bureau Chief Pamela Jones reports firefighters will go to court to try and stop shift and pay reductions.

The 20 percent pay cuts that went in effect Monday have city employees across the board frightened for their future.

Firefighters are calling it a state of emergency in Gary.

"I mean [Mayor Rudy Clay] he's sending us back to what they were making back in 1979," said firefighter Eric Yarbrough. "I mean milk is $4 a gallon, gas is $4 a gallon."

The cuts mean the city's ignoring a court order requiring at least four firefighters per truck for safety; they're using three.

"One, you want to cut our pay by 20 percent. Then you're going to cut my manpower. You're just adding extra stress onto extra stress," said Raynard Robinson, president of the firefighters union.

City cuts could hit the Marsh family doubly hard. Latonia Shield-Marsh is a police sergeant, and her husband, Harold Marsh, is a paramedic.

"That's a 40 percent cut in your household, and when you've got children and we have two…" Shield-Marsh said.

"My mother was shot and killed here my second day on the job. And I got the call. You know," Marsh said. "And I swore right then that I would be here forever. Now that's changing, you know."

Gary Mayor Rudy Clay said, "It's like wrestling with an octopus, you know… you fix one leg, another one grows."

Clay says even with the fire department at half of its staff, the city is still safe.

"You get to a fire you've got three men," Clay said. "In another two seconds or three seconds you've got 15 men. So it's not a matter of how many ride to the fire on one truck."

The police department got a temporary restraining order to stop pay and shift reductions. At a hearing in Crown Point Monday, the city asked for a change of venue, leaving that part of the budget battle on hold.

City Councilmember Marilyn Krusas says the changes for city workers will apply until the end of the year. But if the state doesn't provide some relief this issue will snowball and Gary could face having to trim the budget by some $35 million next year.

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An update for this, the judge has temporarily overturned the City of Gary

ON TUESDAY WE REPORTED (HERE) ON THE ANTICS going on in the Gary, Indiana, city hall. The mayor and city council have so mismanaged the treasury that the city is running out of money. Remember, this is the outfit that recently started charging all the property owners a monthly fee for “fire hydrant rental” (Firegeezer report HERE).

Last week the arrogant city attorney arbitrarily ruled that the labor contracts with the police and fire unions were “void” and “outdated.” The city slashed the police wages by 20% and ordered the fire chief to reduce minimum staffing of all engines and trucks from 4 to 3.

That didn’t set too well with the judge who had ordered the city back in January to maintain the minimum staffing while contract negotiations continue. (Note: They are still continuing as the city tries to negotiate substantial pay cuts for public safety personnel.)

The Superior Court judge John Pera warned the mayor about ignoring his orders. “This court expects those orders to be followed,” he said. The Gary Post-Tribune reports:

A clause in the firefighters’ contract requires the city to abide by its conditions until another contract is agreed upon.

An attorney representing Gary said city ordinances put time limits on such situations, overruling the contract.

Attorneys never mentioned the ordinance to Pera before he issued his original ruling, and firefighters attorney David Buls took exception to its mention.

“It seems any time the city needs an ordinance, it pops out of nowhere,” Buls said.

So the engines and trucks are back to 4 for now. Everybody comes back to Judge Pera’s court on Sept. 2 to talk about it some more.

Read the complete story in the Post-Tribune
I know this ad is for our brothers in Gary, Ind. But I've heard of layoffs for the Union guys in Aurora, Colorado. Anyone hear anything?
I/ WE are behind you guys 125%... ECFD
Hey everybody, I'm from Elkhart, IN local 338 and there is a guy on our department that use to work on Gary, and he had told us how screwed those guys were getting its unbelieveable that a Mayor of the city can screw stuff up so bad, I know there was an article in our state union news letter but I need to look it back over again when I get back to work and when I find it I'll try to update you guys.
I believe that the guys won in court, they are back to full pay and I believe everybody is back to work. I have to ask a guy that is on my dept that use to be on Gary.
Brothers and sisters, you are in our hearts and minds. I know I speak for my fellow fire fighters in South Bend. We are all concerned for you, in Gary, and all behind you. Doug 534, SBFD local 362
we have the same thing going on in charm city baltimore
Brothers in Gary,

I am a pround member of IAFF Local 1803-Reading, PA. We are facing the same situation in our city. We are 15 Million short and just entered the Act 47 Municipal Recovery Act. Our contract is up at the end of 2010. It getting ugly everwhere. Currently, we have two firefighters on a rig. Mayors and Councilman do not understand our job. It so frustrating. We survived without layoffs due to minimum manning clause in our contract. The PD lost 13. We will probably lose firefighters at some point this year. Can anyone come up with an idea to make this a national issue? It doesn't seem to have the attention we all know it deserves. Brothers, stick together and keep each other safe.

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