Huntington Fire Department Voting on Contract

Updated 22 weeks ago Edited by Tony Rutherford from Multiple Reports

Members of Local 289 of the International Association of Firefighters continue voting today on a proposed new contract with the City of Huntington.

Local 289 defeated a proposal in March, but this one contains staffing levels, health benefits, vacation time, possible raises, and other factors. Ray Canafax, president of the union, told the Herald Dispatch , he will not comment until AFTER the vote.

No mention is made concerning retirement issues in the story. HFD retirees face pension reductions due to mistakes made over a lengthy period of years by the local pension board.

The city cut staffing in January to correct a $5 million dollar deficit.

Members of the fire department and others have made Facebook postings concerning staff levels. Some have dipped to as low as 16 (May 26).

On June 18, former councilman Scott Caserta , posted that Huntington Fire Department's station 10, T2, E1 are all shut down. T1 is running with 2 personnel.

Fire apparatus have been viewed out of service. For instance, one engine behind the Marshall University station sets out in the elements.

Citizens posted concerns following the high rise inferno in London, expressing fears that Huntington's staffing levels could not handle a large fire challenge effectively. Many have asked for increased staffing.

Mayor Williams told the Herald Dispatch that "we stay staffed with what we can afford," explaining that if numbers showing up for work dip below 22, then a mass call goes out for additional firefighters.

Voting results may be announced as early as Thursday.

Huntington's Fraternal Order of Police lodge has not yet voted on their contract. AFSME workers and those from the Huntington Sanitary Board have approved their contracts.

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