Florida Firefighters Laid Off Due to Budget Cuts

HIALEAH, Fla. --

More than a dozen Hialeah firefighters were laid off due to budget cuts that are expected to save the city $2.5 million.

Seventeen firefighters are without jobs. Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina said the layoffs will not affect response times and that things will continue to run smoothly. He added that the budget cuts will save the city more than $2 million.

"No services will be affected," Robaina said. "These are individuals who have served the city and have served correctly and have served for over 25 years, have their pensions completely, have their insurance, have all the benefits that they have earned, and we thank them for their years of service."

Mario Pico, president of the Hialeah Association of Firefighters, said the decision actually will cost the city money because some firefighters will have to work overtime to fill the gap created by the layoffs.

"He actually dismissed our senior firefighters -- three chiefs, three captains and eight lieutenants," Pico said. "You can't replace that on the street. There is no school for experience."

The mayor said the money the city will save could go back to the fire stations' operations or to hire new firefighters.

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