Cleveland Worker Layoffs Take Effect

The president of the International Association of Firefighters' Local claims every idea his union offered to keep 20 firefighters on the payroll was rejected by the city of Cleveland.

A deal would have opened the door for Cleveland to accept a $4.5 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That would have funded the salaries of 31 of the 51 laid off firemen for up to 30 months. But the grant required that the additional 20 be kept on as well, which the city said would have added roughly $3 million dollars to its' recently-trimmed budget.

Cleveland city council members had urged accepting the grants, promising to find the additional money throughout the grant period. Firefighters Local 93 President Tom Lally argues the Fire Department had already found a way to save that money, but couldn't convince the city during meetings held over the holiday weekend.

TOM LALLY:
"Local 93 thought we found a solution to this economic crisis, and we were unable to come to a resolve, and firefighters will be laid off and the City of Cleveland will suffer a service loss within the Division of Fire."

The Mayor's Office 'has' released the letter that it sent to that reads in part:
"...the requirement that we not lay off any personnel during the grant period.... makes acceptance of these grants impossible unless they are modified."

The city's letter requests FEMA `reconsider' allowing re-hiring of just 31 of the 51 laid off firefighters through the grant.

Late Tuesday afternoon there had been no response from Washington.

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