Judge Delays Firefighter Layoffs in Detroit

First, the Detroit Police Department's restructuring plan was put on hold. Now, it's the Fire Department's turn.

This week, Wayne County Circuit Judge Susan Borman halted the layoffs of dozens of Detroit firefighters after their union asked for a temporary reprieve.

The union, arguing that the layoffs will endanger both firefighters and the public, said the city violated its contract and failed to negotiate in good faith.

"We believe the city's using the budget as a way around negotiations," said Dan McNamara, president of the firefighters union.

Calls to Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's office and to Fire Commissioner Tyrone Scott were not returned Tuesday.

Scott and Kilpatrick announced the layoffs Sept. 1 as part of a restructuring plan to radically change the department's management system.

On Tuesday, 65 firefighters were to be laid off.

Previously, 60 firefighters were laid off. About 25 more jobs were eliminated through attrition.

The plan would trim $8 million from the department's budget and close five fire companies.

McNamara said 10 chiefs were demoted as part of the plan and firefighters would be required to undergo training as medical first responders. Both changes are supposed to be negotiated under the union contract -- and neither were, McNamara said.

A show cause hearing is set to begin at 1 p.m. Monday.

The Police Department's restructuring plan, which included 18 demotions and 150 layoffs, also was hampered when a judge ruled that the department had to reinstate demoted commanders and inspectors.

Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings announced last week that another 100 officers may have to be laid off because of the ruling.

Distributed by the Associated Press

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