Council backs plan to cut fire fighter positions


The President and members of the Sault Ste. Marie Professional Fire Fighters Association felt burnt following a vote from council to support Fire Chief Mike Figliola and his three year Fire Services realignment plan that calls for a reduction of 20 fire suppression positions and transferring those resources to Emergency Medical Services. (EMS)

In a four hour discussion and debate, council heard arguments from both sides including a presentation from Marty Kenopic, President of the Firefighters Association who believes the Chief’s plan was not complete and needed a more complex assessment and more consultation to determine the real impact it would have on the community.  Figliola will reduce the number of firefighters to increase the number of EMS , something that has been a major risk for the city since 2002 according to Steve Olsen, a paramedic and President of the UNIFOR local representing emergency medical workers.

Kenopic appeared before council to seek a referral on the decision in order to present its case against the Chief’s plan. The union says it is down five firefighters since early Summer resulting in increased overtime and fear the situation will only get worse as more firefighters retire and those positions not being replace.

Council however was satisfied with the plan and stressed the need for more resources dedicated to EMS services.

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