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Fire chief in NY addresses firefighters as union says he’s apathetic to their opinions

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As more than a hundred firefighters from across New York were watching, Syracuse’s fire chief Wednesday rejected censure from New York’s Professional Fire Fighters Association.

Syracuse.com reports firefighters from Buffalo, New York City, Syracuse and beyond lined up to watch Syracuse Fire Chief Paul Linnertz speak at a news conference outside the South State Street fire station. They were part of the New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association — the union that voted Tuesday to censure the Linnertz.

Officials called the news conference to announce the department had been awarded its highest insurance rating in Syracuse’s history. But the news conference quickly became overshadowed by questions about the censure.

Linnertz dismissed the censure, receiving scoffs from some of the firefighters watching. The resolution came from the state association, Linnertz pointed out, not his local firefighters, according to Syracuse.com.

“It doesn’t impact me,” he told onlookers. “They’re not from Syracuse.”

Paul Motondo, president of Local 280 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, spoke after the news conference. Syracuse.com reports he said Syracuse firefighters are frustrated by Linnertz’s decisions and his perceived indifference to their opinions.

Motondo alleges firefighters are upset the city reduced the number of calls firefighters respond to and shuttered the East Fayette Street fire station. Above all, he said, the firefighters are tired of being ignored.

Motondo attributes the censure to a lack of communication between city officials, and in the wake of resolution, he hopes a new conversation will start, according to Syracuse.com.

“Our occupation is a brotherhood. It’s a brotherhood. It’s a family,” Motondo said. “We need the family back together.”

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner addressed the censure praising Linnertz’s leadership.

“With his help, she said, Syracuse has avoided having to layoff firefighters.”

 

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