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Firefighters fuming over town’s decision

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The local Professional Fire Fighters Association is hot under the collar over council’s decision to replace a full-time firefighter on sick leave by six part-time volunteers.

The topic arose briefly during Monday night’s council meeting when Mayor Glenn Witherspoon and Coun. Struchan Gilson brought forward concerns from local residents over the replacement policy.

Community Services manager George Bell said those concerns were dealt with at a meeting last week. But the firefighters don’t agree.

Greg Allan, president of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 1012, said the firefighters’ union was under the impression the matter would come up for discussion with the mayor and council.

“In no way, shape or form is the Fort Frances Professional Fire Fighters Association #1012 endorsing the concept of part-time firefighters being hired to replace full-time firefighters in the town of Fort Frances,” Allan stated in a press release issued this morning.

Allan added the union also had been under the impression the mayor and some councillors were in favour of hiring one full-time firefighter.

“But as of Monday, Jan. 11, 1999, the Fort Frances town council disputed these assurances by going forward with the hiring of part-time firefighters to replace full-time firefighters [here],” he charged.

Allan said the union local has arranged for a rep to be present at any forthcoming discussions between the two parties.

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