Eleven Middletown firefighters given layoff notices

A deadline is approaching for the city and firefighters union to reach a deal to prevent job losses and cut costs. On Friday, 11 Middletown firefighters received layoff notices in anticipation that no solution will be found in time.

They will be laid off at 7 p.m. Aug. 16 if nothing changes between now and then.

“Middletown Firefighters Union tries to remain hopeful that the city and they will be able to keep from laying off,” reads a statement provided by the union. “However, those given layoff notices are already out applying for other jobs to make sure they can support their families at the end of the day.”

Public safety cuts are being made to help reduce the city’s general fund expenditures by $2.25 million over the next two to three years, officials previously said.

A total of 15 positions are being eliminated from the Middletown Division of Fire’s budget. Four positions will be reduced through retirements, said Chris Klug, president of the firefighters union.

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Middletown last laid off six firefighters in 2012 but were able to bring back those firefighters when they were awarded a federal grant. That grant runs out on Aug. 6, Klug said.

“We looked at concessions, doing a grant extension, any possible variety of ways to keep this from happening,” Klug said.

Assuming layoffs occur, Station 84 on Tytus Avenue will be closed and all other stations will be staffed with three personnel that will cross-staff a fire engine and medic unit, according to the union. When responding to an emergency, crews will take the most appropriate vehicle and leave the other.

The Journal-News was unable reach city officials before deadline late Friday.

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