Thread: FF Layoffs in Harrisburg, PA
12-23-2003, 08:24 AM #1
FF Layoffs in Harrisburg, PA
Copied from Harrisburg City Fire Forums ...
IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION THAT HARRISBURG CITY COUNCIL IN AN EFFORT TO MEET A BUDGET IS DISCUSSING LAYING OFF CITY FIREFIGHTERS AND POLICE OFFICERS AMONG OTHER CITY EMPLOYEES.
THIS IS A LAYOFF THAT COULD GO INTO EFFECT AS SOON AS JANUARY 2004. RUMOR HAS IT THAT COUNCIL WANTS TO LAY OFF OVER 20 POLICE OFFICERS AND 5+ CITY FIREFIGHTERS AND ALSO OVER 100 OTHER CITY EMPLOYEES.
AMONG THIS POSSIBLE LAYOFF IS ALSO THE DISCUSSION OF CLOSING 2 OF THE ONLY 4 REMAINING FIRE STATIONS IN THE CITY.
AT ONE TIME THERE WERE 16 STATIONS, REDUCED TO NOW 4, AND NOW THEY WANT TO REDUCE THAT TO AN ALARMING AND DANGEROUS 2 STATION TO COVER THIS WHOLE CITY.
WHAT ARE THEY THINKING...??...AFTER ALL, ISNT THEIR JOB TO PROTECT THOSE WHO VOTED THEM IN TO OFFICE IN THE FIRST PLACE?
I THINK THE CITY RESIDENTS NEED TO ALSO ATTEND THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING TUESDAY DECEMBER 23RD AT 6PM TO HELP MAKE SURE THESE LAY-OFFS ARE NOT CARRIED OUT, AND THE RESIDENTS STAY PROTECTED!
AGAIN...WHATS COUNCIL THINKING??
ANYONE WITH ANY ADDITIONAL INPUT ...PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADD TO THIS POST.
ALL HBG CITY FIREFIGHTERS PLEASE BE AT THIS COUNCIL MEETING TOMORROW NIGHT THE 23RD AT 6PM AT THE CITY GOVERNMENT CENTER.
IF THIS GOES THROUGH....MY GUESS IS IT WILL ONLY TAKE 1 RIPPIN FATAL FIRE WITH ENTRAPMENT (AS WE JUST UNFORTUNATELY HAD IN NOVEMBER WITH CHILDREN TRAPPED) AND SEE HOW THE PEOPLE OF HARRISBURG FEEL WHEN THEY HAVE TO WAIT FOR ONE OF THOSE ONLY 2 STATIONS TO ARRIVE. IS THIS SMALL SAVINGS OF A COUPLE DOLLARS WORTH SOMEONES LIFE?? I HOPE COUNCIL IS READY TO ANSWER NOT IF BUT WHEN THIS HAPPENS.
THE HARRISBURG BUREAU OF FIRE IS UNDERSTAFFED ENOUGH AND SPREAD TOO THIN. THIS LAY-OFF SHOULD NOT BE AN OPTION FOR COUNCIL!!!
LETS KEEP OUR FINGERS CROSSED FOR CONTINUED PROTECTION, AS IT IS NOW, FOR THE RESIDENTS OF HARRISBURG, PA. AND FIND OTHER WAYS TO MEET THIS BUDGET ISSUE.
Harrisburg City Government
Harrisburg City Dept. of Public Safety
Bureau of Human Resources
If this goes through, the volunteers may have to take a stand. The city already calls in volunteers as quickly as the 2nd alarm.
Okay Mikey, you can get up off the floor now ... yes, I am actually trying to help out the paid guys!
12-23-2003, 09:25 AM #2
- Join Date
- Sep 1999
Politicians padding their ***
Harrisburg city is hurting and has been hurting for more firefighters for a long time now. It's not a big city by anyone's imagination, but it has its ghetto areas and its nice areas, its busy and its slow.
The city is extremely underprotected as it is. The staffing on the trucks is dangerously low, the amount of firefighters per shift is dangerously low. Natually, now the city wants to cut it more. How far can you cut city services like this? Volunteers from surrounding communities go into Harrisburg all the time. There's barely enough trucks coming in to handle a small working fire. Whenever there is a fire, the rest of the city is cleared out and there's literally no one left. They should be adding two stations and more staffing to that city rather than cutting stations and cutting staffing.
It's a disgrace what they're doing to Harrisburg Fire Department.
12-23-2003, 10:48 AM #3
Council, Reed clash on need for tax increase
Mayor proposes cuts in police, fire services
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
BY JOHN LUCIEW
Of The Patriot-News
A battle over a proposed tax increase in Harrisburg seems to have turned into a game of brinkmanship between City Council and Mayor Stephen R. Reed.
In the latest volley, Reed has proposed making deep cuts in an array of popular city services to meet council's goal of a no-tax-increase budget for 2004.
Reed's proposed cuts include laying off up to 34 staffers, closing two of four fire stations, eliminating the police canine corps, community policing stations and the entire recreation program, as well as scaling back park rangers and even street lighting.
"Let there be no misunderstanding about this," Reed wrote in a letter to council dated yesterday. "The proposed cuts council now has before it will directly and continuously provide for a reduction in police, fire, public works, recreation and other services, programs and sites. Our citizens will see the effects of these cuts in short order."
But various council members branded the mayor as irresponsible for proposing to cut core services before trying to rein in other costs, including raises of up to 3 percent given to the city's administrative staff.
Several members viewed Reed's list of cuts as little more than a pressure tactic to get them to relent on their promise to not raise taxes.
"We said we would not put the burden on the taxpayer, and we won't," Councilwoman Linda Thompson vowed.
She and other members said in view of tax increases at the state and county levels, raising the city levy would be too much for Harrisburg residents to bear.
Council's only instruction to city budget directors was to reduce the proposed $56.89 million general fund spending plan by what they called a modest 3.55 percent to eliminate the 1-mill real estate tax increase advocated by Reed.
The increase would raise the city's combined real estate tax to 9.5 mills. The owner of a home assessed at $100,000 would pay $950 a year in city taxes, on top of levies for county and schools. That's an increase of $100, or about 11.8 percent.
The increase would come on top of a nearly 20 percent tax increase approved by Dauphin County commissioners. That means an additional $100 for the same homeowner.
"We told them to make cuts," Thompson said. "Council did not tell them to lay off staff. The mayor is certainly protecting the top-level jobs within the administration. This community should be outraged."
Some council members said they now will have to be more specific about what to cut. Council has eliminated one expense -- the $100,000 slated to aid the National Civil War Museum, which has not attracted as many visitors as anticipated in its first two years.
And once again, some council members and residents are seizing on the $5.3 million in nontax city money Reed has spent on artifacts for three proposed museums, including a National Museum of the Old West. At least one residents group has called for the artifacts to be sold to avoid a tax increase.
Reed has rejected the idea, saying no tax money was used to purchase the artifacts. And he pointed out that the money used cannot cover city operating expenses and can be spent only on so-called capital expenses, such as vehicles or equipment.
Reed left little room for compromise in his three-page letter to council, saying it's either a tax increase or deep service cuts. And by highlighting each of the popular services he would ax first, Reed made it clear that the reductions would be "profoundly adverse."
"Council needs to recognize the need for additional revenues," Reed wrote, making his case for higher taxes.
Yesterday, however, members were still holding out hope for a compromise that would reduce the budget as painlessly as possible to avoid a tax increase. A deal could come at a special meeting at 6 p.m. today at the city government center.
"It's my understanding that there's still going to be some back-and-forth in this," Councilman Otto Banks said.
Indeed, members said they would continue proposing alternatives until the meeting. However, it was unclear last night whether a final budget would pass at the meeting if a deal can't be reached.
Only one thing seemed certain. Members vowed to hold firm on their pledge not to raise taxes.
"I don't know anyone who's going to vote for an increase in taxes," Councilwoman Patricia Stringer said.
12-23-2003, 07:00 PM #4
- Join Date
- Jun 2002
- Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
PA, Please keep us up on this. If you get anything from the meeting of Dec 23, (which should be going on as I type this) Pass it on. Thanks, Stay Safe....Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
In memory of
Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006
IACOJ Budget Analyst
I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.
12-24-2003, 09:48 AM #5
This is unbelievable ... just when you think it can't get any worse ...
In a nutshell ... the City council passed the budget which includes FF and Police layoffs. The Mayor is saying he will VETO it. The council has enough votes to override the VETO.
Included in the budget is a 50% increase in the council's budget, including $500,000 of "walk-around money" which is spent however the council members see fit, w/ no accountability.
Furthermore, the Mayor, over the years, has collected $23 Million worth of antiques and artifacts for five museums ... only one of which is open. The rest are just sitting around ...
Hopefully, they will reopen the budget, and do the right thing ...
Council OKs budget; Reed vows veto
Plan would cut police, fire service
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
BY JOHN LUCIEW
Of The Patriot-News
It's the budget nobody wanted, yet it passed.
Already, Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed is vowing to veto it, and the City Council is promising to change it early next year.
But the council voted unanimously last night to pass the 2004 spending plan, despite its cuts in the city's police, fire and recreation services.
The $55.71 million budget would result in layoffs of up to 34 staffers, the closing of two of four fire stations, the elimination of the police canine corps, community policing stations and the recreation program, as well as the scaling back of park rangers and street lighting.
But the budget, which cut about $1.3 million from Reed's original proposal, does not carry a tax increase.
Harrisburg's combined tax on land and improvements would remain at 8.5 mills, meaning the owner of a home assessed at $100,000 would continue to pay $850 in city property taxes.
In holding the line on taxes, the council achieved its main objective, set forth the night Reed proposed a 1-mill increase last month.
"The council's heart was for the people," said council President Richard House.
Now, members said they are confident that they will be able to reopen the budget in January to restore money to the police and fire bureau's budgets and trim costs elsewhere.
"I bleed blue," House said to a gathering of police and firefighters in the chambers. "Nobody's going to get laid off. Trust me. We're going to reopen the budget and make changes."
Reed, on the other hand, said last night that he will use his veto within the next 10 days. It would take five of the seven council members to override him, a possibility given last night's unanimous vote.
But Reed said he hopes the council will see that there's no other way to trim the budget without layoffs and service reductions and that members will relent on what he called a modest tax increase.
"Council has passed a bad budget," said Reed, openly questioning whether members even bothered to read the plan. "The only way they can save those jobs is for additional revenues to be put into the budget."
Otherwise, Reed said, "all of the citizens in Harrisburg are going to notice the effects," adding that some of the cuts could be implemented early next year if the budget is not changed.
Last night's council meeting had the trappings of a showdown between two branches of city government -- the mayor and city council -- with both sides labeling the other "irresponsible" for putting layoffs and service cuts on the table.
The chambers overflowed with blue-uniformed police officers and white-hatted fire fighters concerned about their jobs.
Residents voiced support for both the city's emergency workers and the idea of holding the line on taxes, insisting there must be some other way to cut the budget.
Some people proposed selling the $5.3 million in mostly western artifacts Reed has purchased for a proposed National Museum of the Old West.
"We can sell Annie Oakley's underpants," said downtown business owner Jason Smith, who has launched a Web site protesting the Wild West museum.
Overall, Reed has spent more than $23 million over the last 15 years on a collection of artifacts. Most of the items were intended for the now-opened National Civil War Museum. But eventually Reed wants five museums.
Turning the tables, Reed said the newly approved budget would reduce the spending of all department, except one -- the city council.
Instead, that body raised its own budget by nearly 50 percent, to $685,395. And the council established a $500,000 discretionary fund that some critics have labeled "walking around money." Members said the cash would be divvied up among the council and spent on "worthy projects."
"Council will not take responsibility for what it has now done," Reed said. "It will leave the city entirely without resources to deal with emergencies."
12-24-2003, 10:02 AM #6"The council's heart was for the people," said council President Richard House.
Let's see, we did not raise taxes on everyone in the city (X), but there were (Y) number of people affected by fires that we could no longer handle, but X is more than Y so we must have done the right thing. X votes for me, Y votes against me, I still win!
Last edited by Bones42; 12-24-2003 at 10:04 AM."This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?
02-16-2004, 09:19 AM #7
Finally some closure ...
Fireman jobs in Harrisburg city are finally safe. The city has approved a new budget which does NOT include any loss of jobs.
Unfortunately, though ... tragedy was not averted. The city council was forced to give up 50% of their "walk-around money", or a fund that they have to do with whatever they want, and give to whatever special interest group that they want ... and 50% equals $250,000.
However, FF layoffs were not averted in Lancaster, PA (40 miles southeast of Harrisburg). 3 FF's are out of jobs due to budget cuts.
Lancaster County Discussion
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