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Mar 18, 5:57 PM
Cocoa lays off three fire battalion chiefs
City blames budget problems
BY JOHN A. TORRES
COCOA -- Weeks after Cocoa Fire Chief Arthur Romprey was asked to resign, the city has eliminated its three battalion-chief positions.
Bryan Hahn, John Frye and Mark Greene -- each with more than 20 years of experience in the department -- were told that April 9 will be their last day.
City officials have been grappling with budget problems that forced four firefighter layoffs last year and the elimination of five more positions of firefighters who voluntarily left. Retired county battalion chief Mike Taggart was recently hired on an interim basis to run the department.
The latest round of cuts are expected to save the city about $150,000 in salaries.
While battalion chiefs do not participate in putting out fires, union spokeswoman Charlotte Racca says they are vital.
"Battalion chiefs establish who is on the scene and manage the total operations of the department," she said. "They manage everything and anything."
City manager Ric Holt said the cuts were necessary, and the city is proposing reinstating four firefighter positions.
"Emergency response to our citizens is our first priority. Since battalion chiefs do not directly provide fire suppression or medical care to the patients, these management positions were eliminated to decrease fire department costs and allow us to live within our tight budget," he said.
In a memo the union faxed to FLORIDA TODAY, Hahn said "23 years of dedication to the city must mean nothing."
The city tried to turn its fire services over to Brevard County Fire-Rescue last year, but the county turned down the offer, at least for now, because of a pending lawsuit filed by the department's union over the city's decision.
Holt said the fire department budget normally hovers around $4 million and he would like to see it between $2.5 million and $3 million. Having the county take over would cost $2.1 million with about $700,000 in startup costs.
The city is planning a November referendum to let residents decide whether to keep the Cocoa Fire Department.
Contact Torres at 242-3649 or email@example.com
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Thread: Cocoa Fires its Battalion Chiefs
03-20-2004, 08:14 PM #1
Cocoa Fires its Battalion ChiefsAJ, MICP, FireMedic
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03-21-2004, 12:53 PM #2
- Join Date
- Feb 2004
- Rochester, NY
Are these BC's losing their position or their careers? If they are appointed positions then that is a chance you take when you accept the job. If they are civil service union positions, then I would think they should be returned to the rank below BC. Either way it is travisty, all too common in our nation's fire service today! Best of luck to these brothers. STAY SAFE BROTHERS.
Last edited by TIPMAN13; 03-21-2004 at 12:56 PM.
03-21-2004, 03:56 PM #3
- Join Date
- Dec 1998
- Black Hawk VFD, South Dakota
It would seem to me that under that line of thinking, the city manager's job could also be elminated. As far as I know city managers do not provide "direct" service to the city. I have yet to see one pick up garbage, do police or fire duties, run the water plant etc. Therefore the city manager's position is not necessary in times of tight budgets.
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