Cutting firefighters a worrisome idea

Referring to an article in The Leader-Herald, it appears once again the mayor has the Gloversville Fire Department in his sights to cut staffing and save money. This “cost saving measure” is particularly worrisome to me, as it should be to all of our elderly disabled and citizens dependent on oxygen and other services.

In the event of a fire, I cannot “wait for firefighters to be called in on overtime.” I do not move quickly, my home has eight oxygen containers that are highly flammable, and, with all that firefighters have to do to fight a fire, cutting staff further would endanger my life and the lives of anyone else in a similar situation.

The mayor has no firefighting experience, but somehow he thinks he can decide what is needed? He stated, “The minimum manning and no-layoff clauses are luxuries this city can no longer afford. I am happy to pay overtime when we need to call people in for a fire or other emergency, but it pains me to pay extra money because previous administrations agreed to these terms.”

These are luxuries? My family would disagree as would the families of the disabled and senior citizens. It pains him to pay? What of the pain that is caused families in the loss of a firefighter, grandmother, mother, father, or a child?

Mr. King also stated this plan would save the city about $100,000. Is that the dollar amount for the loss of a life? In this same article, Fire Chief Beth Whitman-Putnam said the firefighters are willing to work with the city this year and understand the fiscal troubles the city faces. She said a memorandum of understanding regarding staffing between the department and city was agreed to in 2011 and extended in 2012. She said under the conditions of the memorandum, the department is down three positions from the normal staffing level.

I suggest Mr. King not take it upon himself to push a further reduction in staff in a city with many old buildings that go up quickly when on fire.

Surely there are other ways to cut expenses without putting public safety in jeopardy. The mayor should also stop his comparisons with the city of Johnstown. They have half our population.

Perhaps Mr. King should ask for input from professionals before he decides what is in the best interest of public safety.