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|Last Updated: Monday, November 05, 2012|
East Saint Louis Firefighters to Vote Friday on Jobs
The City of East St. Louis, Illinois voted Sunday to eliminated 11 firefighters and 19 police officers to try to fix a budget deficit of $1.2 million, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
Tuesday, the police union reached a tentative agreement with city administrators, according to KMOV-TV.
Thursday, members of the Fraternal Order of Police Union Lodge 126 voted 23-14 to accept the agreement that will return those 19 police officers back to work. That accounts for 30 percent of the police force, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"It wasn't the best deal, but it was the only thing we could do under these conditions," said Keith Randolph, police union vice president. "Our stance now, and always has been, to bring back the 19 police officers who were laid off."
Randolph added, "in the end, the decision was based on the safety of the citizens and the officers' families."
According to the Post-Dispatch, the deal calls for officers to take 20 percent wage reductions for the rest of the year. The city will then repay the money to officers in increments next year. But, it is not clear if the city will be in a better financial position by then to be able to repay that money.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, firefighter union leaders met with city officials most of the day to try to restore the jobs of the 13 firefighters which include those laid off Sunday and some in May.
Mayor Alvin L. Parks said he's "very confident and optimistic that the city and the fire department have reached a level of understanding that'll result in an agreement that bring significantly more fire protectors back and at the same time be fiscally responsible regarding the 2010 budget."
The mayor would not say how many firefighters might be reinstated.
Members of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 23 will vote Friday at 6 p.m. to accept or reject the agreement.
Author:Barbara Brooks - Fire Department Network News
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