Olentangy Valley News

Liberty Township lays off four firefighters


Liberty Township trustees voted to lay off four firefighters this week to save money as they await the results of a five-year, 5.6-mill emergency levy on the February ballot.

At the board’s meeting Monday, Dec. 17, the board voted 2-1 to terminate employment of the firefighters, effective Jan. 11. Trustees Curt Sybert and Mary Carducci voted for the measure and Trustee Melanie Leneghan voted against it.

The terminated employees are Pete Canfield, Dan Curtis, Mike Murphy and Cole Tomlin - the department’s four least senior firefighters.

Ten part-time firefighters were laid off last month, and four full-time firefighters have resigned or retired in the past six months.

Also at the Dec. 17 meeting, trustees accepted the resignation of full-time fire inspector Jack Allen, who is retiring for personal reasons.

“The department is a lot leaner and it’s going to be more efficient. That’s just the way it’s going to be in 2013,” Sybert said. “Those are the times we live in, and I’m sorry, but it’s something that has to be done.

Sybert said there is reason to believe two additional staff members might leave the department within the next year and a half to help the township reach its goal of 42 full-time firefighters – roughly a 20 percent reduction from the 52 firefighters employed earlier this year.

Leneghan held tight to her conviction that forced layoffs weren’t necessary. She said reductions are necessary but believes the department could afford to wait for voluntary resignations and forgo layoffs.

“I plead with this board to buy them some more time,” she said. “Yes, ultimately we do need to reduce staffing, but we don’t need to reduce it by Jan. 11.”

For the complete story, read the Dec. 20 edition of ThisWeek Olentangy Valley News