Residents come out in support of Hoquiam firefighters
More than 80 people attended the Hoquiam City Council meeting last night and most of them were there in support of the Fire Department which was recently notified that four of their employees were being let go.
Before the meeting supporters of the department with signs saying “Save our firefighters” and “Help protect our city” stood in front of City Hall.
Doug Stankavich, President of Hoquiam Firefighters Local #315, tells KXRO that the HFD has “always struggled to shed the reputation of being a “stepping stone” Department where good candidates come to gain experience before moving on to bigger, better paying Departments. “
According to Stankavich, the 4 firefighters that are being let go this week were all born and raised locally and “had every intention of retiring from HFD.”
With a public comment period that lasted over 30 minutes, the majority of speakers spoke in support of the firefighters.
Dave Forbes, Hoquiam resident and regular audience member at the council meetings spoke last night, saying that sometimes difficult decisions have to be made. He said, since the paper mill closed, the budget has needed to be adjusted and cuts had to be made somewhere.
Ricky Walsh the Vice President of the Seventh District of the International Association of Fire Fighters also spoke saying that the city has not done a good enough job going into bargaining and that the council is the body that has to look out for the citizens.
Hoquiam Finance Director Mike Folkers gave a presentation on the budget to start the meeting and spoke on the decline of calls for the fire department, which is where the revenue for the department comes from.
The union is set to bargain with the city today.