(KMOV.com) – Monday marked the day for massive layoffs in the East St. Louis Fire Department.
Officials earlier this month said 17 of the city’s 51 firefighters would be out of a job. It comes after a federal grant ran out earlier this year.
East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks said the moves come because there simply isn’t any money,
On Friday, Chair of the Financial Advisory Authority Marvin Lampkin said his board found almost $500,000 in unused funds that could keep them on at least until the end of the year. The Financial Advisory Authority demanded the city not lay off 17 firefighters.
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,” 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 planned to file an injunction on Monday.
According to East St. Louis Fire Chief Jason Blackmon, the department handles between 1,400 and 1,600 calls each year. That number does not include EMS calls.
In comparison, Collinsville, which has a smaller population and 33 full-time firefighters, had 3,454 calls in 2008.