Cleveland Hts. Firefighters Held Out For More Money, Lost Jobs When None Was Found

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Firemen’s unions are as gifted with the prose as their brethren are with the hose. “Cleveland Heights officials playing politics with fire,” reads a letter to Scene from Paul Hallisy, president of the Cleveland Heights firefighters union, Local 402.

The group claims that recent layoffs, which cut the force from 72 to 69, should have citizens fearing for their lives. Even worse: It seems the city passed on a $458,000 federal grant that would have allowed it to hire three more firefighters rather than whack three.

But apparently, playing politics goes both ways: Cleveland Heights fire chief Kevin Mohr says the city didn’t reject the grant; it became ineligible once the union refused to play nice at the bargaining table. When the city found itself in a budget crunch last year, it asked union workers across the city to extend their current contracts. The police did; the firefighters did not.

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