Legal fight looming over cuts to East St. Louis Fire Department

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by Lauren Trager/ KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on September 27, 2013 at 9:41 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 27 at 10:40 PM

(KMOV.com) -- There is anger rising over a plan to cut almost a third of the fire department in one Metro-East town.

The mayor in East St. Louis said there simply isn’t any money, but an advisory board found almost $500,000 that could be used to keep the firefighters on the job.

Friday, there was a very heated exchange between members of an oversight committee and the city of East St Louis focusing on the safety of every citizen.

The Financial Advisory Authority demanded the city not lay off 17 firefighters.

The ax is set to drop on Monday because a grant funding them in the first place has expired, but the board said Friday, not so fast.

Chair of the Financial Advisory Authority Marvin Lampkin said he believes there is enough money to keep the firefighters.

Lampkin said they found almost $500,000 so far unused that could keep them on at least until the end of the year. That’s a relief for those often on the fire line

“I am still worried,” said fire Captain Brandon Walls, “I just feel a little bit better.”

But Mayor Alvin Parks said that money is already dedicated---to paying court-ordered back-pay for city employees.

“Take care of the back-pay issue,” Mayor Parks said, “That’s been our game plan.”

Parks also said the priority should be on the safety of residents, but his hands are tied and the layoffs will happen as planned.

East St. Louis Firefighters plan to file an injunction on Monday.

Stay with News 4 and KMOV.com for updates on the situation.

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