LOCKPORT, N.Y (WKBW) — Nearly two weeks after an independent arbitrator ruled the City of Lockport must immediately restore firefighter staffing, Lockport Mayor Michelle Roman has announced there will be an appeal to vacate the decision.
We've given extensive consideration to the arbitration decision on minimum manning and the extraordinary ramifications it will have on the taxpayers of the City of Lockport. In speaking with corporation counsel, City of Lockport Council members, the union, the public and attempt to discuss with the fire board it is my determination it would be prudent to appeal to vacate the decision. We believe there is enough basis to file an appeal which I am directing the corporation counsel to facilitate the process.
The arbitrator determined in 2014, when the city reduced the firefighter staffing from nine to six, it violated the union's collective bargaining agreement. The arbitrator also stated the city's firefighters and residents are safer when there are nine firefighters on duty rather than six.
When the arbitrator made its decision, Mayor Roman stated despite the positive news of improved public safety, the city would now need to find revenue to meet the requirement of the arbitrator's decision.
As always, my administration will tackle the problems as they arise. In the coming days, we will begin negotiating with our Fire Union to minimize the immediate financial impact of this decision. Further, we are working with State and Federal agencies to seek grants for personnel and equipment. Lastly, my administration will actively work to create new revenue streams to effectuate the employment of a fully staffed Fire Department.