The battle between the mayor of the Rochester, New York and the local fire union has come to a head, with the union dismissing an offer by the mayor to end cutbacks and claiming her “compromise” was illegal.
Mayor Lovely Warren reportedly crashed a press conference being held by union President Lieutenant Eddie Santiago, hand-delivering the proposal and arguing with him.
“You can take this with you,” Santiago said, as Warren walked out. “Because it’s rejected.”
The incident was streamed live on the union’s Facebook page, as well as in front of several media outlets.
Recently, the city began reassigning on-duty firefighters to cover gaping vacancies left by personnel shortages, slashing around $1 million in pay and benefits.
The move, however, also means the closure of a fire station and removal of an engine from service.
“It’s not about safety,” Warren told Santiago. “It’s about money for you.”
According to the Democrat-Chronicle, Warren proposed pulling $500,000 from a fund that is sustained through a 2 percent tax on insurance premiums paid by out-of-state companies for fire insurance on New York properties. Santiago dismissed tapping the fund as an illegal act.
The battle between the two entities has been a long one, going back for some time.
It is unknown when, or if, the city and fire union will reach an acceptable compromise.
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