Pontiac Firefighters, who received pink slips on Christmas Eve, face a impossible choice. Either option in the end, could leave them without a job.
Operating under the draconian authority of Michigan's Public Act #4, Emergency Manager/Mackinaw Center of Public Policyco-hort Louis Schimmel informed Pontiac's firefighters, they face two choices. Merge with the neighboring city Waterford's Fire Department and they might have a job or, reject Schimmel's offer and be terminated from duty.
Mike Nye, a retired Pontiac Battalion Chief and his wife Kris have two sons working for the Fire Department, who are in their 40's. Speaking to the Oakland Press, both noted E.M. Schimmel's impossible choice for the sons is unfair.
Either they will be ''forced to retire now and try to make up the difference in income somewhere else. He still has two children to put through school and college, and was not ready to retire," she stated.
So his choices are vote yes and retire or vote no and get fired. Not great choices after putting in 20 years of service to the city," Kris Nye told the Oakland Press.
The proposal to merge with neighboring Waterford, Nye believes, will include four fire officers and the rest firefighters. They will not receive a government pension and would have to pay for 95% of their health care.
“They’d go way down in pay,” she said. “They would not be treated as equals at all. They’d all be low man on the pole," Kris Nye noted.
“Mr. (Lou) Schimmel” — Pontiac’s Emergency Manager — “has already stopped making mandatory payments to the pension fund, yet thinks adding 14 more early retirees won't cause a financial strain,” she noted.
Mike Nye, who spent 15 years with the fire department has similar take as his wife.
"The fire department has been made to look unreasonable and they’ve been treated terrible,” he said to the Oakland Press.
He said when Schimmel looked at Pontiac’s financial distress, “you’d think he would have sat down with the firefighters and said, ‘Here is our situation.’ Instead he has shoved this down their throats, saying, ‘There is nothing you can do about this.’ It’s disgusting to me,” he noted.
Pontiac Firefighters Union offered a series of concessions to E.M. Schimmel before he announced the devil's deal to either merge or be fired. Schimmel rejected the offer, stating that he had Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder's full support to make the cuts.
As for Waterford's Fire Department, according to Channel 7 WXYZ in Detroit report on December 28th, they have 50 open positions available. For Pontiac's Firefighters, they are required if they accept Schimmel's 'devil's deal', re-apply for Waterford's Department openings and, are not guaranteed to be accepted for employment.
Waterford's F.D. noted that Firefighters in other areas of the state, have applied for the open positions in the city.
Disclaimer: This article was originally published at ROJS News