Baltimore Chief Announces Shuffling Plan to Save Jobs

Baltimore City Fire Chief Jim Clack announced shuffling and disbanding plans Thursday that he sees as one that will prevent layoffs.

Three city fire companies will be disbanded, and crews reassigned, according to WJZ-TV.

Clack told reporters his proposal will not affect city residents. “We are going to be there just as quick as we are today,” he said.

To ensure response times don’t suffer, several other fire companies will be relocated to new fire stations. It’s all part of a plan to eliminate the rotating closures forced on them by the city’s budget three years ago, the station reported citing a report released Thursday.

The proposal isn’t sitting well with union firefighters who say the department is already stripped to the bone. “The citizens of Baltimore are at risk and so are the firefighters that wear these uniforms,” Rick Hoffman, president of the Baltimore City Firefighters’ Union, told reporters.

Firefighters say the ladder truck in Locust Point is a perfect example of their concerns. It is being relocated downtown, but this truck will still be the first ladder truck responding to problems downtown all the way over to Fort McHenry.

Clack added that the new plan -- which will go into effect July 1 -- also means temporary demotions for nine firefighter lieutenants and six firefighter captains. They will be re-promoted once there are new openings.