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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

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    Michigan based Citizen Journalist Owner/Podcast host at the Reach Out Job Search News blog at and our weekly radio show on Michigan Politics at

    by kayla9170 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 02:27:42 PM PST

  •  The Emergency Managers Law is Outrageous. n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kayla9170, 207wickedgood, kurt

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

    by Justina on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 02:57:50 PM PST

  •  The thing that a lot of taxpayers (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, peptabysmal, 207wickedgood, kurt

    who vote NO on a millage to support a FD seem to not understand is that their home owners insurance payment will increase when there is an increase in response time.

    As a former FF if my home could not be saved in 15 to 20 mins. I would just as soon let it burn down.

    The real story though is that this is one more effort to privatize the commons. Want Fire protection, great sign up with ABC for twice what you once paid in taxes.

    •  This is absolutely what it is, and don't be (4+ / 0-)

      surprised to see Grand Rapids-based and Grand Rapids connected companies leap into the breach.  I don't think people realize what a fundamental change in American life is being orchestrated by the right.

      •  The political 'think tank' of... (5+ / 0-)

        Privatizing the based right out of G.P. with the Amway (Devos), Meijer Corp (Public Schools), Koch Brothers have a connect there, along with the second base of the Michigan headquarters, the Mackinaw Center for Public Policy....(i.e. a ALEC funded front organization).

        G.P. is already on the case here. This is bigger than Pontiac and Michigan. People need to wake up before life as they knew it, is gone.

        Michigan based Citizen Journalist Owner/Podcast host at the Reach Out Job Search News blog at and our weekly radio show on Michigan Politics at

        by kayla9170 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:10:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Totally Correct Vzflk3s~ (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vzfk3s, kurt

      The real point of this is to end all of the strongest Unionized Contracts, which are in the Public Service Arena. If they can touch city, state and country workers, the 1% have taken over this country in the finest fashion.

      Sadly the 99% are too late, in this case especially, to realize what the end game of these types of measures will be. By the time they do, America will look like a 3rd World Country.

      Michigan based Citizen Journalist Owner/Podcast host at the Reach Out Job Search News blog at and our weekly radio show on Michigan Politics at

      by kayla9170 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:07:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We have already seen this movie. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kayla9170, kurt

        Remember when the fires were buring in Ca. and the only homes that were saved had a contract with a private company? Mainly due to 2 things, the fire was at such a scale that no one "could have predicted", and cuts to millages.

        Here is my guess.  

        The insurance companies will lobby to do away with any commons, then charge a lot higher premuim for insurance,
        THEN start their own pay to spray dept.

  •  Word is the Pontiac firefighters are much (6+ / 0-)

    better trained than the Waterford contingent.  Also, that the Pontiac firefighters have offered many concessions that the EFM has not even acknowledged.  The EFM is offering $6 million to Waterford for fire services, while the Pontiac firefighters would accept $4.2 million.  What's up widdat? Sounds like the continued GOP attempt to bust up public employees and take away their health care and pensions to me.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. – John F. Kennedy,1962

    by moose67 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 03:06:58 PM PST

    •  the city will save $7 million (0+ / 0-)

      by cutting the department, and it's tough to see concessions even coming anywhere close to that.

      •  City is saying they'd save $3MM, (0+ / 0-)

        which means that the figures I was relying on that came from the financial statements included about $4MM of embedded retiree benefit expense, depreciation, and other stuff that couldn't be cut.  

        •  That's what they are saying but.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hector Solon

          Louis Schimmel talks a big game but leaves a trial of sub-par at best results. For instance, he was 'supposed' to have saved Hamtramack money too as their former Emergency Manager.

          Guess what happened in the end? They filed for bankruptcy anyway.

          So, nothing will truly change except, that Pontiac will be sold to the higher privatized bidder and the people will face increase fees in former public ran services, for it.

          Michigan based Citizen Journalist Owner/Podcast host at the Reach Out Job Search News blog at and our weekly radio show on Michigan Politics at

          by kayla9170 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:18:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •'re correct... (0+ / 0-)

      The sad thing is seeing no other choice, the Pontiac F.D. is no more, after today's vote. The had little to no choice but to disband the Department (and its union) to merge with Waterford.

      It gets worse. Waterford is stating there're only 50 jobs for 57 Pontiac Firefighters. The kicker....the jobs are open to Pontiac F.D. and any other individual trained in Firefighting across the state of Michigan.

      So the end result is, Pontiac F.D. voted to disband the union, are out of jobs come February 1st, 2012 and have NO GUARANTEE that they are going to get a job with Waterford's F.D.

      Darn shame!! Right before the New Year!

      Michigan based Citizen Journalist Owner/Podcast host at the Reach Out Job Search News blog at and our weekly radio show on Michigan Politics at

      by kayla9170 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:14:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for pointing out... (0+ / 0-)

    ... Herr Schimmel's connection with the Mackinac Center, didn't have the one in mind.

    We know that MCPP and ALEC/Heritage and Reason Foundation are behind the push for privatization not just in Michigan, but nationally.

    Wonder how many others in the actual daily activities have such direct ties. Need to run some searches on our files here.


    •  Wow... (0+ / 0-)

      ... holy smokes this that a rabbit hole. This may be the core of the whole EM Pontiac narrative. Seems that some very focused local knowledge on this guy's activities would be very useful, there appears to be a history.  Getting another great pay-off with the big EM salary. Sicking. Keep digging.

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