Monday afternoon, the four person Financial Advisory Authority in East St. Louis (each person is appointed by the governor) voted unanimously to reject a plan that would have eliminated 13 firefighting positions in the city.
Eleven full time firefighters would have been laid off and two currently vacant positions would be eliminated.
Firefighters organized a picket Monday afternoon at city hall and aired ads to drum up support for keeping firefighters employed by the city.
The city's mayor has said the move was necessarily to help close the gap on a $2.9 million budget shortfall. The city is looking for ways to come up with the money by the end of December.
Mayor Alvin Parks acknowledged layoffs wouldn't raise enough money to balance the budget, but the vote means there are fewer options.
I spoke to Mayor Alvin Parks tonight and he says the city is considering the following options to raise money quickly including:
Mayor Parks also said that the city will likely tackle more vacant building assessments and vacant land assessments to make owners register with the city and have their property inspected on a regular basis.
While the city council has not taken a pay cut in the wake of this budget crisis, Mayor Parks says that he will give up his $800/month (before taxes) city expense account.