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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Linton Fire Department may lose firefighter due to budget cuts

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Linton Fire Department learned last week that due to budget cuts, they may also be losing a member of their department.

This news comes not long after the Linton Police Department began rallying support from the community after learning two officers could be laid off due to the budget cuts.

Eric Carpenter, who serves as president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local No. 3087, said the fire department learned on Oct. 2 from Mayor John Wilkes the fire department could be subject to the budget cuts.

If an alternative for budget cuts is not found, the Linton Fire Department might be losing a fire fighter, Carpenter explained. Based on seniority, fireman Ross Gentry would be the one facing a layoff.

Gentry has been employed with the fire department since April of 2012. Before joining the department, he participated in an internship at the department during his senior year of high school.

The layoff could happen as soon as November, Carpenter noted.

Linton Mayor John Wilkes explained previously the city is facing a deficit in the Civil City budget, which encompasses the fire department, police department, mayor's budget, cemeteries and parks.

Carpenter said there will be a Linton City Council meeting Oct. 14, in which they are encouraging the community to show their support for not only the fire department, but for public safety in general.

Carpenter noted the department will be meeting with the president of the Professional Firefighters Union of Indiana, Tom Hanify.

There have also been discussions with the Township Trustee.

"There is an open line of communication with (Mayor) John (Wilkes) and the city," Carpenter noted.

Carpenter added the fire department has not made any major purchases with their budget recently, and have relied on grants for any equipment needed.

The cut of a firefighter will be detrimental to the nine-member department, Carpenter explained, especially due to two members of the department being off work on workman's compensation.

Fire Chief Brad Sparks said he anticipates the cut will create more overtime, which will cost more than cutting a member of the department in the long run.

"It's going to be a vicious cycle," Carpenter noted.

Sparks added a lot of people in the community think they are just "sitting up on the bench waiting" for a call, but the department does more than just fight fires in Linton.

The LFD covers the entire Stockton Township, which is the largest township in the county, Sparks explained.

In addition to normal firemen duties, they also run the EMS and assist other local departments.

"We have a response time of three to five minutes," Sparks said, noting they do more than 1,000 runs a year.

Carpenter explained the department has a mutual aid with other local fire departments. All of which are volunteer. The Linton Fire Department is the only paid department in the county.

He explained due to Linton always having someone on station, it is beneficial to assist other departments when volunteers cannot make it to a scene. This mutual aid agreement allows other departments to assist with manpower and equipment.

Sparks referenced this year's floods had the fire departments out in full force to help those in need and clean up in the aftermath. The department had the park back open and cleaned in 24 hours.

This week is another example of how the fire department is active in the community, by bringing local youth to the department to discuss fire safety for Fire Prevention Month.

The department hands out education materials, hosts food drives, have given scholarships and other community service projects.

Sparks stressed these projects were possible through fundraising campaigns.

As the community rallies for support, the department hopes there is something they can find to do to protect the city's safety and keep the emergency personnel on hand.

"We could find a way, but it's going to take more than just the fire department to do that," Sparks said.

Carpenter noted due to the short notice of the potential lay off, the fire department has not been able to work with the Fraternal Order of Police as they rallied for support as well.

Linton Mayor John Wilkes was not available for comment.

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The only person missing on that bench is Bob Thomas!

-- Posted by Greene County 47 on Mon, Oct 7, 2013, at 12:09 PM

NO!!!! Ross is an awesome fire fighter!!! PLEASE dont!!!!

-- Posted by linton_residents on Mon, Oct 7, 2013, at 1:38 PM

Glad they are cutting from more than one dept. Maybe one from the city council as well

-- Posted by MAY05 on Mon, Oct 7, 2013, at 5:23 PM

looks like Linton residents can plan on losing more public safety. Remember this when it comes voting time. Had the city properly planned for this maybe the residents would not be in the position to lose so much.

-- Posted by blacknwhite on Tue, Oct 8, 2013, at 12:05 AM

Democrats run the town. Can't we simply raise the debt limit?

-- Posted by catpowered on Tue, Oct 8, 2013, at 1:19 AM

Your Glad they are cutting?? May05. WOW, itsn't that something! Nice to think of the safety of Linton and the future the young firefighter had with the department! You seem very selfish and uninformed of the situation.

-- Posted by linton_residents on Tue, Oct 8, 2013, at 8:43 AM

Its unfortunate that within all government agencies whether city, state or federal have what is sometimes called different colors of money. The city of Linton is on the verge of losing employees that provide for our protection simply because the color of their money won't allow these employees to continue with their service. There are, however, there are employees from other activities within the city that are seen doing virtually nothing and they will be protected, but this is how it works and there is nothing the mayor can do. The system isn't broken, but definitely needs repair. Hopefully something can be resolved that will allow the police and fire departments to retain their level of employment.

-- Posted by cubfan on Tue, Oct 8, 2013, at 10:11 AM

No, you took thAt all worng of course I am Not glad they are cutting any jobs, but Instead of focusing on one dept like our police I'm glad they looking in to different options, it's going to happen take away from other dept also not just one dept.

-- Posted by MAY05 on Sat, Oct 12, 2013, at 1:54 PM

Who approves workmans comp? Really he's off again?

-- Posted by JHPtown on Tue, Oct 15, 2013, at 1:49 PM

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