The fire department here could see some trimming as part of the town’s offer of golden handshakes to those employees within 10 years of retirement.
While he wouldn’t reveal how many firefighters were eligible for the early retirement option, Fort Frances CAO Bill Naturkach assured the community would not be affected if the packages go through.
“Those decisions are not final,” he noted yesterday, saying the town was looking at what impact all the potential early retirements—not just those at the fire hall—would have on service delivery.
Any talk about whether the fire hall would continue to be manned 24-hours a day was purely speculative, Naturkach added, and a moot point.
“We are not about to jeopardize the community for fire service,” he stressed. “There will be service provided.”
In total, seven town employees are eligible for the early retirement option proposed by the town earlier this month. But one of the requirements of the offer is that the positions not be replaced.
There currently are 32 employees at the fire hall—10 full-time firefighters, one fire chief, one deputy fire chief, and 20 part-time (formally known as volunteer) firefighters.
Fire Chief Ralph Fulford refused to comment on the issue, and Mayor Glenn Witherspoon could not be reached for comment by press time.