New Year's Eve Last Shift for 15 Ind. Responders

New Year's Eve Last Shift for 15 Ind. Responders

News Dec 31, 2012

Dec. 29--GARY -- Juana McLaurin's 32 years of service with Gary will end at midnight Monday when the city cuts her job and those of 14 other first responders.

"We were not told about this until two weeks ago," McLaurin said. "I don't like the way they did it."

McLaurin, a 60-year-old emergency medical technician, was one of several people who spoke out at a special City Council meeting Friday night.

The council, after debating the issue for more than an hour, voted 6-2 to terminate 15 firefighters and EMTs, including McLaurin.

Kevin Smith, a 27-year paramedic whose job with the city also was cut, spoke briefly before the City Council took its final vote.

"This is one of the darkest moments. To reduce 15 employees is a dark moment in the city of Gary. There's still an opportunity to save these positions," Smith said.

Resident Jim Nowacki told council members they should find a way to retain -- not fire -- the 15 first responders.

"When this administration wants to find money for other services, such as a press secretary, it finds it," Nowacki said.

Nowacki said the Board of Public Works, at a meeting earlier Friday, had approved a $90,000 annual salary for Director of Communications Chelsea Whittington.

That salary, which didn't include a raise, was confirmed by Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.

Continue Reading

"That amount would save the jobs of two EMTs," Nowacki said.

City Council President Kyle Allen, who voted in favor of cutting the 15 positions, said the move was necessary.

Allen said the cutting of the 15 positions will mean the city can retain 35 firefighters who will be cross-trained.

The 35 firefighter positions have to be retained or the city could lose money it will be receiving from a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant it received in 2010.

Before the council vote, Freeman-Wilson and Gary Fire Chief Teresa Everett spoke about the need to cut the 15 positions to save the city from losing the 35 firefighters.

"We're finding ourselves between a rock and a hard place," Freeman-Wilson said. "Other communities have chosen privatization. We have chosen to merge. That way we can provide services to our citizens. We don't take the loss of 15 positions lightly."

In addition to the 15 positions being cut, the city is saving money by not filling six other first responder vacancies.

"This is a difficult choice," Freeman-Wilson said.

Neither she nor Allen were able to provide a total amount of money the city will save by making the cuts.

Salaries of those cut ranged from $43,334 to $53,927.

Freeman-Wilson said the salary of her director of communications doesn't affect the salaries of the first responders.

"It's not comparing apples to apples," she said.



Copyright 2012 - The Times, Munster, Ind.

The Times, Munster, Ind.
Deborah Laverty
Crestline Coach attended the Eighth Annual Saskatchewan Health & Safety Leadership conference on June 8 to publicly sign the “Mission: Zero” charter on behalf of the organization, its employees and their families.
ImageTrend, Inc. announced the winners of the 2017 Hooley Awards, which recognize those who are serving in a new or innovative way to meet the needs of their organization, including developing programs or solutions to benefit providers, administrators, or the community.
Firefighters trained with the local hospital in a drill involving a chemical spill, practicing a decontamination process and setting up a mass casualty tent for patient treatment.
Many oppose officials nationwide who propose limiting Narcan treatment on patients who overdose multiple times to save city dollars, saying it's their job to save lives, not to play God.
While it's unclear what exact substance they were exposed to while treating a patient for cardiac arrest, two paramedics, an EMT and a fire chief were observed at a hospital after experiencing high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and mood changes.
After a forest fire broke out, students, residents and nursing home residents were evacuated and treated for light smoke inhalation before police started allowing people to return to their buildings.
AAA’s Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession.
Forthcoming events across the country will provide a forum for questions and ideas
The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) has released its 2016 Annual Report summarizing HCOHSEM’s challenges, operations and key accomplishments during the past year.
Patients living in rural areas can wait up to 30 minutes on average for EMS to arrive, whereas suburban or urban residents will wait up to an average of seven minutes.
Tony Spadaro immediately started performing CPR on his wife, Donna, when she went into cardiac arrest, contributing to her survival coupled with the quick response of the local EMS team, who administered an AED shock to restore her heartbeat.
Sunstar Paramedics’ clinical services department and employee Stephen Glatstein received statewide awards.
A Good Samaritan, Jeremy English, flagged down a passing police officer asking him for Narcan after realizing the passengers in the parked car he stopped to help were overdosing on synthetic cannabinoids.
Family and fellow firefighters and paramedics mourn the loss of Todd Middendorf, 46, called "one of the cornerstones" of the department.