As firefighters lined up for roll call on Wednesday June 21st at the Hamtramck Fire Department, Fire Chief James Szafarczyk, without explanation or notice, handed layoff notices to six of Hamtramck’s Bravest.
Ironically, on a day when firefighters across the United States and Canada focused on firefighters safety, the City of Hamtramck has decided to compromise the safety of its firefighters and citizens. Last year in the United States, thousands of firefighters were injured while on duty and worse, 115 were killed in the line of duty.
The city of Hatmramck’s leaders have chosen to ignore the great concessions made for safety and the State Emergency Financial Manager’s recommendations.
As a result of these lay offs the City must call in up to four firefighters a day on overtime, further burdening the budget, and causing great physical and mental stress on the remaining firefighters. Incredibly, on February 14th, 2006 the Emergency Financial Manager had authorized the City to hire 3 additional firefighters.
The impact of these layoffs on firefighters’ safety is that less is doing more. In a fire setting this could result in more firefighter injuries and possibly death. Their manufactured financial emergency is going to create a real Public Safey Emergency.