Mpls. To Lay Off Firefighters Due To Budget Concerns

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ten Minneapolis firefighters could soon be looking for work.

Due to city budget cuts, they’re expected to receive layoff notices on Monday.

“We were woken by a phone call saying, ‘Hey guess what? You don’t have a job today,'” said Firefighter Aaron Banks.

The elimination of these positions would leave Minneapolis with 388 firefighters.

“We came together in the same training class and we all went through this experience together,” said Firefighter Justin Johnson.

For three years, Johnson and the men standing next to him Tuesday afternoon have been Minneapolis firefighters. Johnson has even been recognized for his work. Last winter he used an AED on a high school referee who had a heart attack at a hockey game. He saved the man’s life, but Tuesday morning he learned he may not have a job.

“We got a call from Chief (Alex) Jackson this morning. The city has been threatening us with these layoffs since we showed up in January ’08,” said Johnson. “Who wants to hear they are going to lose their job? A lot of us have families at home and we are trying to figure out what we are going to do now,” said Banks, who has three children.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said the city was hoping to avoid public safety cuts. But Rybak said when the state cut back on local government aid it forced the city to make a tough decision.

“I talked with a number of these guys and told them how much we want them back and if we have retirements that could happen. Public safety is very important, but every part of this city has to make due during a very tough time,” said Rybak.

Rybak said he is asking the city council for contingency money to soften the blow. But Mark Lakosky, president of the Minneapolis Firefighters union, said the city has already taken too much from the fire department over the years. He said the department has lost dozens of positions and he worries in some emergencies, the department could be out-manned and out-matched.

“It’s coming and I don’t want to be out front talking about how that rig didn’t get here for 10 minutes so I couldn’t get up to that fire and pull that family out of that fire because no one was there yet,” said Lakosky.

In addition to the 10 firefighters that will be laid off, three others will be put on mandatory retirement.

Of the 10 firefighters laid-off, they will receive their official notification on Monday and will then be placed in a job bank to see if there is another position for them in the city.

If there isn’t, they will be laid off Sept. 14th, but could be called back if there are retirements.

More from John Lauritsen
  • logan

    what part of “no more money” do you not understand?

    • G

      So do you think its practical and most important, safe, for the firedepts to be under staffed? That was a pretty ignorant comment you made there… Maybe the next house fire will be your own, and no one will show up…

  • Safety-Minded

    What part of “I hope you need the fire department someday and they’re late due to short staffing” do you not understand?

  • willie alfred

    Nice job LIEbak…You just keep cutting the very services we rely on the most.
    The Fire Fighters said on tonights news that LIEbak has cut their staffing every year that he’s been mayor. Who does he think is going to help us when we need it ? He still finds the $$$ for his pet projects like trophy drinking fountains.
    Let’s see LIEbak, every year my taxes go up… But every year the services you provide are getting cut. You may LIE and say we are getting a good deal but that math doesen’t add up. Now the one city department we can cound on when we need them most is being ruined at your hands. I hope you run for GOV again so we can all vote against you…again. In the meantime LIEbak, please leave the Fire Dept alone..I want them there when I need them!

    • jeff

      it’s funny you should mention those fountains. each one cost about 40-50 thousand. i happen to be a volunteer gardener in a park that has one of those. would you be willing to guess how many people use that thing? maybe one out of a thousand.

  • Lucifer

    Blame yourselves and your greedy union. Wake up and understand what is going on in this bad Obama economy. Taxpayers have had their earnings cut or have lost their jobs over the past 3 years and can no longer afford to pay your big salaries and benefits. Teachers, police officers and everyone else that has a government job have beewn demanding pay raises and better benefits thoughout this Obama depression while private sector taxpayers have faced serious cuts. You are not privlaged or special just because you are a government worker. Wake up and realize what is going on around you and stop being so greedy.

  • downyersliberals

    In a bloated GOVT., all jobs are at risk. Seniors ( wife & I ) haven’t had a COLA in 2 years. If you’re too dumb to know what a COLA means, don’t read the comment. We accept a NO COLA, to help our economy but public enemies, ahhhh, public empolyees, have to get off the GOVT pig trough and “get-a-job” Welcome to the real world liberals.

    • Kieron

      it’s not the libs alone, hon. You cons are just as much to blame.

  • Malthus

    How many firefighters do we have?
    How many fires a year do we have?

    It is wasteful to have more firefighters than you need.

    • A_Paramedic

      Mpls FD responds to all of your medical calls. So when you’re tired of doing CPR on your loved one; you’d better get yourself a Snickers… And when the paramedics get there and resuscitate that loved one, you still aren’t done. You now have to get a body out of the back bedroom and into an ambulance. We’ll be too busy trying to breathe, push drugs, and shock your loved one to a stable point.

      • obviously

        You said after a paramedic does cpr on your loved one, then their not done, they need to get a body out of the back room, very true during a actual fire call which is not daily…

        • A_Paramedic

          Unless I am misunderstanding your point… Any paramedic from HCMC or North Ambulance services can assure you that people are going into cardiac arrest daily. Fire will be there on every one of those calls.

          • Get it

            Why is it necessary for a firefighter to respond to a heart attck thats my point.

            • A_Paramedic

              Generally, the patient having a heart-attack doesn’t really walk himself/herself to the curb for us. The true “heart attack” patients are usually gasping for air and lethargic.

              • Dave Campbell

                Give it up Paramedic! It’s like having a battle of the wits with an unarmed man! They will have to be the one clutching their chest and gasping for air before they figure it out. Keep up the good work!

                • factdealer

                  There’s 19 fire stations, there will be 10 layoffs can you do the math, there will be no impact,

              • factdealer

                So you as a paramedic revive people on the curb usually I thought paramedics went into homes to help people, earth to you yes firefighters need to bring them to the curb after a fire, that is not the argument, you’re saying it is necessary for firefighters to respond to every call put in, i guess if they’re trained emt’s then why do we need so many paramedics, maybe we should lay a few of you off, 10 layoffs 1 per 35,000 residents and you people whine, its 2011 deal with cuts

                • A_Paramedic

                  Hey “Factdealer”,
                  Pay attention to your area. There was an entire service that just sacked everyone. LIFELINK laid off and sold their ground service. It just didn’t make the news.

                  Regarding the use of firefighters on scene, I’m merely saying that the average person in an emergency does not drop in the most convenient of locations. The medics will always make their way to you to help, but lifting you off scene is our biggest point of injury. It helps to have FD or PD on scene; and if you’ve looked around at the size of our average unhealthy patients… They aren’t getting any lighter, so every single helpful hand counts.

  • Al

    Get rid of some of the liberal politicians and the others on the public trough that take and never give. Better yet get rid of some of those fancy drinking fountains and the tornado hugfest for the kids because their parents are too dumb to explain nature to their own kids,

  • I heart Mpls

    So you lose a few cops and firemen. You still have those cool green bikes, $50,000 water fountains, green roofs, gay pride parades, pot holes, unplowed streets, murders, stabbings, muggings etc.

    • joe

      Pride pays for all it dos .

      • KeepItReal

        Hardly. How many tax dollars and donations are used to pay for health care and hospice for the free love and sex people? More than you can count, that’s how much!

        • Tim

          Site your source for this…Please attempt to back what your are saying.

        • mIke

          How many tax dollars go to the obese people in the burbs???

  • greg

    If you listen real carefully you can hear that the printing presses have not slowed abit . the spending rolls on and on and on

  • Richard Head

    Having a fire department is nice, especially when you need them. Yes, it takes money to operate. Ever wonder why you never hear anyone addressing cutting EBT, welfare, free medical, free school lunches, free tuition, etc at the cost of the taxpayer? How many millions does Minnesota pay every week to make life easy for all the immigrants who free load off the taxpayer? Where is the pay back? We (our liberals) just keep packing more dead weight into a leaky, sinking boat (our economy). The taxpayers manning the oars, the immigrants getting the free ride.

  • just me

    Just remember this cut this winter in sub zero temp during a apartment complex fire….everybody will be hollorin’ about the firefighters not getting there to save lives…… If you complainers can do a better job–suit up and I’ll meet you at the firehall…..volunteer orientation is about to begin!!

  • Firefighters To Be Laid Off Due To Budget Concerns « CBS Minnesota

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  • joe

    When a ritch ass holes house is on fire Let them call for help when there is know one to go put the fire out . O WELL..

  • jack

    Just look at all the idiotic republican comments…

    These republicans nowadays are completely wacky!

  • Julie

    LIEback I think… wants Minneapolis to BURN.

    A shortage of Firefighters is far more dangerous than a shortage of cops.

    I would love to see a cop run into a burning building to save someone.
    Not because I want to see bacon fty, but because there are very few of Minneapolis’ Finest who would actually put their lives in front of the civilian… erm I mean Citizens of Minneapolis.

    I say this as a Cop’s daughter, whose Cop father told me not to trust a single cop unless it is a family member. (My Dad, Uncle and Cousin were/are on the force.) Looks like I can trust only ONE cop on the Minneapolis force now.

    • @Julie

      You may be the least intelligent person to breathe Julie, firefighters are more important than cops? Crime is 24/7 fires are weekly, I hope you don’t care for children you belong in a hospital with a caretaker.

  • factdealer

    Fire departments are overstaffed anyway, please explain to me why fire depts respond to everything not a fire also, ask to see the numbers 92% of all calls responded to are not even a fire, care to challenge that?? its this way everywhere I believe Andover has 4-5 fire stations at least, they averAGE 1 fire every 12-19 days, epic waste.

    • Der Der Der

      That’s why it is called FIRE & RESCUE.

      • @dah der dolt

        Do you realize they respond to everything? Sometimes multiple trucks when there’s no fire or rescue involved, check the stats, many of you will be blown away.

    • Factdealershouldgethisfactsstraight

      I guess when the 94 bridge went down the Fireman were not need then because there was no fire right!!!! Or when the tornado’s went through earlier this year they should have just stayed in there bed cause of course there was no fire right. Just like the police, no one wants them around until they need them for something.

      • factdealer

        It takes 5 seconds for the dispatcher to say bridge collapse, or cat in tree, you get the difference, thks 4 pointing out 2 biggest examples in 4 years, also there were numerous fires on the bridge that day, geez you breathe on a machine or what

  • Ed

    Money for a Viking stadium, but no money for fire fighters. will we have football players put out your house fire or provide medical aid. I doubt it, with out a bonus in their contract.

    Let the Vikings go to portland or some where else and us the extra stadium money to keep the city safe.

    Do not cut back on fire fighters

  • Misordered priorities

    But we’re happily taxing away for a baseball stadium. Stupid politicians.

  • John 2

    Firefighters? Pfffft! We NEED tax breaks for the RICh!!

  • Slinky

    factdealer is correct, Firemen are responding to calls that are not fires, why? So that they seem really important? They rescue cats in trees and ducklings trapped in sewers. One fire every two weeks, on average. Where is the needs study? What are we getting for our money? Without more jobs in the private sector the government simply cannot afford any waste.

    • Tim

      Site your source for these statements of yours. Forgive me if I don’t trust what you are saying is true. Because I don’t think you have the slightest clue of what your are talking about.

      Typical born again conservatives… you scream cut this and cut that (including peoples jobs), but you don’t think past to the consequences. So now you have 10 people laid off. No more taxes being collected from them. More importantly you just eliminated their spending with private business. This in turn reduces the private businesses income and puts more people at risk to lose their jobs. Now you have several members of the group that fuels our economy (middle class) with out any spending power. This will continue to spiral out of control with the typical Cons plan.

      So tell me smart guy…how do you address this? Did you even think this far ahead…I bet not.

      • @Tim

        So any employee in the middle class must stay employed so we can tax their wages, and they still buy items, I’m no conservative or liberal, i’m a realist, why not add 1,000 more firefighters so we can tax them and they buy things, You’re the one out of scope in this day and age, it’s not 2001 it’s 2011 it’s a different time.

    • Slinky stole my Ferret's name

      I have a ferret named Slinky.

      I would rather see some politicians get the can over the shutdown fiasco than some firefighters. Sure they might answer non-fire calls, but people will rue the day when they call the fire deprtment and they get the message “We will come when we can, not enough people to answer your call. Please try again later.”

  • factdealer

    I am not downplaying the need for some firefighters, but you people just don’t understand the overkill of them and the ridiculous calls they respond to on a daily basis, many suburbs rely on a high percentage of volunteers its time for minn. st. paul to follow suit.

    • Julie

      Would you volunteer?

      *waits for an answer*

      • Get it

        In My hometown of C. rapids, but they have a waiting list, as it is not a everyday job.

        • Julie

          Cool :)
          I work in CR, and one of my friends is a Fire Fighter in CR ^^
          If I didn’t have asthma, I would volunteer too.

  • HMM

    Im in my 30’s, I do not know 1 friend or family member that has ever called the fire department.

    • Pride of Our Service

      Then count your blessings. I am a career full-time firefighter and usually when we see citizens (i.e. “customers”) they are having a very bad day in many ways.

      Nobody wakes up and plans their day by scheduling an emergency at a convenient time.

      The reason we respond to so many “other” (non-fire) calls is because we are trained in medical emergency response, hazardous materials response, auto extrication for violent car wrecks, technical rescues, etc. In EVERY ONE of these emergencies, the people affected didn’t think they’d ever need the fire department until the moment the emergency struck.

      Think about your $18 a year in tax savings the next time you’re pinned inside your burning car waiting for under-staffed or slow responding fire department to show up and save you.

      Better yet, think about the next time it happens to one of your loved ones…

      • Career that

        So each station will essentialy lose 1/2 half firefighter, you’re saying that is the difference in saving all these lives, if thats the case you need to be trained better it’s 10 men spread over 19 departments consisting of 400plus firefighters…..

        • just me

          Just remember that the next time there is an accident—like today’s Lowrey tunnel mess—remember that there’s 10 less firefighters showing up and the ones that are there are on OT (which will kill any budget) and they could probably give a rip if you’re late for work or not. They’ll get it cleaned up, fuel and all, when they can. So sit tight, relax and tweet away. They’re only human and if you think you could do their jobs–by all means pretty boy–lend a hand.

  • obviously

    Cutting 10 firefighters is 2.5% of the force, unless you’re 1 of the 10 or your friend is you’re clueless.

  • FACT

    There were over 36,000 calls that Minneapolis Fire Department responded to last year. That equates to roughly 100 per day. 70% of the responses are medical calls. They consist of cardiac arrests, diabetic symptoms, strokes, trauma, car accidents, delivering babies, shootings, stabbings, assaults, drug overdoses, etc. They go on and on. Other calls consist of technical rescues such as water rescues in Minneapolis’ lakes (capsized boats, possible drowning), swift water rescues in the river usually from individuals who try to commit suicide by jumping off the bridges. There are high angle rescues, below grade rescues and other rope rescues, confined space emergencies, building collapses, trench rescues and search and rescue emergencies. There are hazardous materials incidents which impact not only the citizens but the environment. They consist of leaks, plumes or explosions of caustic chemicals. There are gas leaks MFD responds to because of stolen copper pipes to construction workers hitting lines in the ground. All crews do building inspections daily (commercial and residential). They total over 5,000 per year! Not to mention all the training that is mandatory to keep your skills up and certifications current. And last but not least, let’s not forget the commercial building fires, residential fires, garage, auto, illegal burning, grass fires and other miscellaneous fires they respond to. How about the bridge collapse? How about the two firefighters last year that sustained third degree burns in a house fire last year. Multiple surgeries and skin grafts that left both of them disabled. Tell me the last time the private sector gave so much? Yet the mayor and other top brass squander money on miles and miles of bike lanes, green bikes, water fountains and other useless garbage. If anyone should be laid off, it should be the city council.

    • jan

      You hit the nail on the head. I totally agree with you

    • @fact

      I wish I understood your stance, you start your incoherant rant admitting to many frivelous calls then finish by saying everyone is necessary, are you kept alive by a machine, you sound like it.

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