12 positions at Fulton FD eliminated

12 positions at Fulton FD eliminated
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
Twelve positions have been eliminated from the Fulton Fire Department, effective at the end of the year.
The action was taken by the Fulton City Commission during a called meeting Thursday.
The commission voted 4-1 to eliminate 12 positions, excluding the chief’s position, effective Dec. 31 and to leave only the fire chief and one firefighter for the Fulton Fire Department, with severance to be determined by the city manager.
The action came following a closed executive session to discuss the matter. Commissioners returned to regular session to vote on a proposed municipal order. Commissioner Jeff Vaughn made the motion for approval and it was seconded by commissioner Martha Vowell.
Fulton Mayor Elaine Forrester voted against the action.
The fire department decision came just a short time following recent action for Parkway Regional Hospital in Fulton to take over control of the financially-distressed Twin City Ambulance Service, the other half of the department, on Jan. 1.
Fulton Fire Chief Mike Gunn told The Messenger the fire department cuts will result in some restructuring which will essentially make Fulton a volunteer fire department.
“We’re basically going to have to become a volunteer fire department. There will be two paid personnel left and the rest will be all volunteers,” he said. “It will definitely be some restructuring for us.”
He said he doesn’t yet know the full effect the action will have on the community.
“It may very well delay some response, no doubt, simply due to the nature of a volunteer department,” he said.
Gunn said the fire department is supposed to have 17 paid positions, but the elimination of the ambulance service also eliminates several positions. The department currently has 14 employees and Gunn explained a couple of people left and were not replaced.
Currently, the 14 ambulance service paramedics and emergency medical technicians also serve the Fulton Fire Department.
Gunn said 12 employees will be going to work at the ambulance service once the hospital takes over after the new year.
“With two staying on (the fire department) and 12 going to the ambulance service (at the hospital), it should ensure a position for everyone,” he said.
The Fulton Fire Department currently utilizes volunteer firefighters in addition to the paid personnel. The 40-man department includes 23 volunteers and the 17 paid personnel positions, according to Gunn.
“We have some that have been full-time for 30 years or so,” he said.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 12.12.11

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