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Published: Wednesday, 2/25/2009

Hearing canceled over firefighters' manning concerns

BLADE STAFF

A hearing scheduled in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to determine whether to bar the city from reducing daily strength number for Toledo firefighters was canceled, according to court personnel.

Attorneys for both the city and Firefighters Local 92 contacted Judge Linda Jennings to cancel the hearing scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. As of noon, they had not yet submitted the settlement agreement for the judge's signature.

Judge Jennings granted a temporary restraining order Feb. 13, preventing the city from removing a ladder truck from service during contract negotiations. The union filed the complaint claiming that a reduction in the daily number of firefighters working would not only violate the union's contract but also create a safety issue for both the firefighters and the residents of Toledo.

According to the firefighter's contract, "the minimum daily line strength shall be one hundred and three (103) members." Union attorneys pointed out that there are no exceptions to the word "shall" and said that any action to reduce the staff would violate the contract.

Adam Loukx, the city's law director, countered that the issue was not a matter of safety but instead of money. He said that the city was in a desperate financial crisis and that blocking the proposed changes at the fire department may mean layoffs elsewhere.



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