Lawrence EMTs learn of job loss Friday


Every civilian EMT in Lawrence was notified late Friday that they were being let go.
Lawrence Mayor Dean Jessup issued the following letter to employees:
"Dear Colleagues: Today, I made the most difficult decision that I will likely make as the mayor of this great city.
"In order to fix the overspending created by the addition of 18 firefighters and 6 EMT's to the city's payroll in 2010, the fire department will reduce its number of staff effective one week from today by 20 EMT personnel.
"This action, while one that will create hardships, must be taken in order for us to live within our means.  Changes like this are always difficult, but in making these reductions our city will remain safe with our professional firemen providing care when an ambulance is called.
"I ask each one of you to continue to do all that you can to effectively and efficiently serve the people of Lawrence and to go the extra mile to help each other in this great public service endeavor.  Sincerely, Dean Jessup, Mayor, City of Lawrence."
Keith Johnson,Deputy Chief of Staff, said the mayor wanted to make the decision which would have the least impact on the city.  He said people will have the same level of service.  He said their budget troubles amount to $2 million.  Johnson said they are at the risk of running out of money at the end of year.
"Mayor said (its the) hardest decision he's had to make and hopefully the hardest he'll have to make as mayor," Johnson said.  "The mayor had to find new revenue or he had to (make) cut(s) and the new revenue suggestions... was not enough. He had to make cuts."
There were a total of 24 EMTs who worked with the city of Lawrence, but four had taken jobs with other cities before the mayor made his announcement.  Lawrence Local 416 District President Kris Kell said he was disappointed.
"I really felt that the city of Lawrence over the last several years has made big improvements, especially for the fire department (and) public safety, and now we went backwards"," Kell said. 

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