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Firefighters reach settlement with city officials over paid firefighter layoffs

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Firefighters in Long Beach, NY have reached a settlement with city officials to move forward with a paid paramedic and volunteer program that won’t lay off paid firefighters in the area.

Long Beach Professional Firefighters Union representatives have agreed to drop two lawsuits against the city, which planned to lay off 18 paid firefighters during emergency services restructuring after a Public Safety Management assessment suggested they downsize to 12 paid firefighters and 12 paid paramedics.

While the study would reportedly show savings for the city upwards of $2 million, the unions were not happy about the proposal and threatened to sue.

According to Newsday, the possible legal crisis has been averted, with a new contract in place that protects the firefighters.

“It gives us some level of security,” union President Bill Piazza said Wednesday. “It takes away a little bit of the uncertainty of if we’re getting laid off or not, and there’s less anxiety in the firehouse. We have the ability to maintain services to the residents to the city.”

Prior to the drafting of the new contract, the departments had gone nearly seven years without one.

City officials are glad the standoff has come to an end and are looking forward to putting forth new strategies to ensure everyone is better off.

“I’m happy we’ve reached an agreement with the firefighters union,” Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman said Tuesday. “They have stopped legally contesting our restructuring and reforms, which puts more certified paramedics and ambulances sufficiently deployed.”

 

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