Memphis Fire Department budget cuts; union blames mayor - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Memphis Fire Department budget cuts; union blames mayor

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - -

The Memphis Fire Union president says both fire fighters and citizens are at risk.

The department is short by about fifty fire fighters, with at least fifty more ready to retire.

The blame is on Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, according to the Union President Tommy Malone.

In addition, the Memphis Police Department has more than 100 vacancies.  The director says soon non-emergency calls will not be responded to in a timely manner.

The fire department says with 50 open fire fighter positions, they already have to use overtime to have the personnel to cover each shift.  Malone blames the proposed cuts to the benefits and pension reform.

"You're not going to get people to risk their lives for nothing," says Malone. "This is not the wild wild west.  This is real stuff.  And we roll hard in this city."

But Wharton says it's not the proposals that are causing people to flee the uniform, but the uncertainty.

"In many instances it's not as bad as the uncertainty," says Wharton.  "We want to go on and get through this once and for all so the officers and fire fighters and other employees can make good sound decisions."

Sources tell us officers are keeping a close eye on what happens with further cuts and pension reform during this budget season, to decide how to react.

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