BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Maumee City Council has reversed course on a proposal to eliminate city jobs.
At a special meeting on August 31, council members unanimously approved Mau-mee Mayor Richard Carr’s request to rescind a notice to lay off seven city employees. Council member Gabe Barrow abstained from voting on the measure due to a conflict of interest.
The action secures employment for one police officer, two paramedics, two equipment operators, the animal control officer and the bureau chief of firefighting – whose positions were all slated for elimination. The paramedic and police officer positions were on track to be eliminated on September 5 and the equipment operators were to be cut on September 27.
For the past several months, the city has warned that job cuts were imminent. In early July, council voted in favor of using COVID funds to keep the paramedics and police on duty through the beginning of September. Carr said that the motion to rescind that action provides employees with the job assurance they need.
“I think this will provide much-needed stability for those employees moving forward,” Carr said.
In March, Carr proposed issuing job cuts in response to projected lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, all three employee labor unions reached agreements with the city to reduce wages by 5 percent and forego wage increases. In addition, six employees have retired, five have resigned and one employee has been laid off.
According to Human Resources Commissioner Susan Noble, as of September 1, the city of Maumee employs 132 individuals in the following divisions: service, fire, police, inspection and finance.
Carr said that city leaders would continue to address the financial difficulties caused by the pandemic.
“It has not been easy, and these employees who were going to be laid off are going to know that they will continue on the job and not have to worry about next week or next month unless we have a terrible setback,” Carr said. “We’re not going to recapture everything that we have lost, but we’ve done a good job of addressing it.”
Contrary to what has been said on social media, Carr said that the school resource officers at both the high school and middle school will remain on the job and that no reductions to police road patrol will be implemented.
Maumee Police Chief Dave Tullis said that the number of officers in the division has decreased from 43 to 39, but even with that decline, the division would continue to maintain the minimum staffing necessary to cover road patrol and all community outreach programs.
He credits labor union leadership for successfully working with the city to reach the best possible outcome.
“I appreciate the union leaders and what they did,” Tullis said. “By taking reductions in pay, they were able to save as many jobs as they could. Hopefully, the economy will begin moving again.”
Maumee Fire Chief Brandon Loboschefski is pleased to be moving forward.
“I’m very thankful to the mayor, council, city administration and the labor unions as they were able to collaborate on solutions. This pandemic has obviously added many challenges for our entire community, especially financially. Going forward, we’ll continue to work together and we’ll continue to progress,” he said.
Loboschefski also expressed his appreciation for fellow first responders who continue to face significant challenges.
“As for our emergency preparedness and response, this pandemic has been unprecedented. I wholeheartedly thank all our full-time and volunteer employees as they respond and adapt to an everchanging environment.”