1 bid received for old Midlothian firehouse
The owner of J.W. Murdoch & Sons Inc. submitted the lone proposal to buy a vacant fire station on the South Side that's has numerous problems.
David Murdoch, who owns the commercial and industrial door business on West Indianola Avenue, turned in a proposal by Friday's deadline. He did so after touring the former Station No. 9 at East Midlothian Boulevard and Sheridan Road a few hours before submitting his offer.
"It's exciting I'm the only one," Murdoch said. If a deal is struck, the building "would retain the same look. Actually, it would be improved and restored. I see a lot of possibilities and don't want it to just decay."
New firefighter takes oath in Youngstown
The Youngstown Fire Department is now at full staff, after the mayor swore in the city's newest firefighter Thursday morning.
The addition of Chad Palmer puts the department at its capacity of 138 firefighters. The department is now in a hiring freeze until they drop to 130, which is anticipated to be in late spring.
Palmer started as an inspector with the department on Sept. 8.
His family watched on as he took his oath. They said they're very proud of him, especially because he's not the only firefighter in the family.
"My dad is a captain and chief. My grandpa was a fireman. My mom and aunt both were and my uncle is a captain in Westlake," Palmer said.
Palmer is from Kent and was a part-time firefighter in Rootstown for three years.
[Webmaster's note: Congratulations Chad!]
Firefighters union meet with Youngstown's mayor
Dozens of Youngstown firefighters took advantage of the monthly five minutes with the mayor to talk to mayor John McNally on Tuesday about the city's plan to take a fire truck off the road and reduce the workforce by eight.
The reduction of firefighters would be done through attrition and not through outright layoffs.
But the union representing Youngstown Professional Fire Fighters Local 312 said reducing the force in any form is a safety issue and they would like to work with the mayor to find different ways to save money.
"The main complaint is to try and maintain our safety. With less guys, there are more injuries. What stress does to firemen, 33% of their fatalities are from stress. It's not an easy job," said John Casey, with Youngstown Professional Fire Fighters Local 312.
Mayor John McNally said the city has to save money since the city will lose $2.8 Million in tax revenue in 2016. He said this plan would save a million dollars a year with minimal impact to the department and residents.
"Most fires in the city, if not all of them, are answered by one or two fire stations. The fact that we are going to close down one truck, which will most likely come from the downtown fire station, I don't think in any respect jeopardizes the safety of any city residents or businesses," said McNally.
The truck is set to be out of service as of January 1, 2015 with the retirees leaving through the summer of next year.
Youngstown Fire Chief John O'Neil said the truck could be put back into service if another truck was down for repair or if there was a major emergency situation.
Youngstown firefighters air concerns to mayor
Youngstown Mayor John McNally said the city has to start saving money and he is looking to the fire department for help.
But members of the firefighters union said a plan to get rid of a truck and eight firefighters puts the safety of residents at risk.
The plan was first discussed between McNally and Fire Chief John O'Neill in July, but on Tuesday, 35 members of Youngstown Professional Firefighters Local 312 took their concerns directly to the mayor during his monthly "5 minutes with the mayor" session at City Hall.
"The main complaint is trying to maintain our safety. With less guys, there is more injuries," Local 312 vice president John Casey said. "Thirty-three percent of their fatalities are from stress and it's not an easy job."
The eight firefighters would be lost through attrition. McNally said he expects about 15 firefighters to retire over the next year.
Casey said the truck they're getting rid of is Engine 7 at station No. 7 near the Youngstown State University campus. But the mayor said it will likely come from the main downtown station No. 1.
"I donít think it in any respect jeopardizes the safety of any city residents, or any city businesses or any city buildings," McNally said.
He said this is part of a bigger plan to save money in the general fund. These moves will save the city about $1 million a year.
The $2.8 million the city is currently getting from Vallourec goes away in 2016.
"We will get our last payment from them in early 2015 and then our general fund budget will be shorted by that amount come Jan. 1, 2016," McNally said.
He said not replacing retiring firefighters is a better option than larger layoffs at the end of 2015. The engine will be taken out of service at the end of this year.
"I guess we just wait and see if we can meet with him again and try to discuss other ways to save money," Casey said.
But McNally said the city most likely is going to move forward with the proposal.
Earlier this month, the firefighters union rejected a new three-year contract proposal, primarily because of health care costs. Both the mayor and union leaders said these two issues are separate and the elimination of a truck and eight firefighters will not affect ongoing labor negotiations.
Reduction plan poses serious safety issue, fire official tells Youngstown mayor
City firefighters expressed concern to Mayor John A. McNally about his plan to take a fire engine off the road saying it's a serious safety issue.
With the truck gone, it would eliminate eight fire department jobs - expected to be through the retirement of eight firefighters - and play a major role in saving about $1 million annually, McNally said.
Of the 138 city firefighters, 36 went to city hall Tuesday as a sign of unity against the mayor's plan. Of the 36, six met with McNally during his monthly "Five Minutes with the Mayor."
John Casey, vice president of the Youngstown Professional Firefighters Local 312, said he told McNally that the proposal is dangerous as it reduces the number of firefighters, putting more stress on those remaining. About 33 percent of all firefighter fatalities are caused by overexertion and stress, he said.
Also, having firefighters in that condition puts residents in danger, Casey said.
McNally's plan would be to eliminate a truck on a North Side station along with three captains, three lieutenants and two firefighters through attrition by the end of the year. That would save $781,000 annually.
Also, using new firefighters instead of lieutenants in the department's inspection unit would save $231,000 a year, he said.
"That station covers all the major hospitals, [Youngstown State University], and parts of downtown," Casey said.
McNally has said there are no plans to close any of the city's eight fire stations.
But Casey said city officials are looking at closing the North Side and downtown stations, and opening a new one to cover both areas.
Before meeting with the firefighters, McNally said, "I talked to the bargaining team about closing a truck and the union doesn't support it. I appreciate their point, but my position hasn't changed."
When asked, Casey said the contract proposal the firefighters union soundly rejected last month has nothing to do with the truck issue.
Casey said the bargaining unit and McNally will meet again to discuss the truck reduction.
"The impact it will have on the safety of residents" is significant, Casey said.