Centralia residents rally against changes to fire department - KMOV.com

Centralia residents rally against changes to fire department

CENTRALIA, Il. (KMOV) -- At least two hundred people marched through Centralia to the City Hall on Monday night to protest changes to the full time, salaried fire department.
Centralia started its fiscal year in January with a $1.5 million dollar deficit.  The city is asking the firefighter's union for concessions that include pay freezes, insurance benefit reductions, and eliminating three positions.
The city also wants to eliminate a requirement that the fire department hold minimum staffing levels, per shift.  City officials say the move would allow the department to do more with less, and give managers an option of reducing overtime costs.
If the city and firefighters don't come to an agreement, the city says it is possible Centralia will contract with private firefighters or an outside fire protection district for services.
The firefighters union printed t-shirts in support of the firefighters and gave them to people, attending Monday night's rally.
No decision has been made and more negotiations are scheduled for next week, according to Mayor Tom Ashby.

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