Lack of funding leads to Jackson firefighter layoffs

JACKSON, MI (WLNS)- Two Jackson fire fighters are losing their jobs Friday, because there’s not enough money to keep them.

The move will leave the city with 15 firefighters on the department

Six news spoke to officials today who say it comes down to priorities and money.

The two men losing their jobs were originally among a group of nine firemen covered by a grant the city received over four years ago.

According to Captain Scott Stoker, President of Summit Township and Jackson firefighter union, in 2011, the Jackson Fire department received a federal grant, providing 9 firefighters with a job.

When that grant money ran out in October of 2015, all 9 were laid-off, making the team shrink from 24 firemen to 15.

According to Captain Scott Stoker, two of the nine men were brought back, after there was talks and hopes of an agreement working out with Summit Township, but that proposal failed.

“Those talks were going very well with the union and fire officials but once they reached to the level of politicians it just lost momentum and died” Captain Stoker said.

“It’s not appropriate to continue to fund firefighter positions with grants. Grants don’t last forever.” Jackson’s assistant city manager Jonathan Greene said.

According to Greene the city budget is allocated based on priorities.

“I think the real question is what changes need to be made to the way we deliver services for the city of Jackson and what ways can we better deliver those services at a cost effective price.” Jonathan Greene said.

“I think it’s more important to figure out ways to improve the delivery of services and improve the operations of fire departments so we can best serve the City of Jackson” Greene said.

“That municipality could come up with a plan to fix their budget restraints to either consolidate with other departments or to find the money in the budget to retain these fire fighters. Unfortunately that hasn’t been done here” Captain Scott Stoker said.

According to Stoker, the tea

Members of the Jackson Fire Department tell Six News that losing two men on the team will add strain, but they plan on applying for another grant when the opportunity comes.

 

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