Reno Fire Fighters Association and City of Reno meet in court

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Updated: 6/17/2014 4:18 pm
UPDATE: 3:54 p.m.
RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- A day-long hearing is just wrapping up in Washoe District Court. The Reno Fire Fighters Association is trying to block the lay-offs of 32 fire fighters due to the loss of a federal grant.

Fire fighters and City officials gave their sides on arguments that centered on the budget, the city's financial status, and the fire union contract.

The hearing began at 9 a.m. Tuesday with Union VP Seth Williams taking the stand. He testified he believed the City was violating the union contract and City Charter by going forward with the layoffs. It was his opinion the City had an obligation to fund public safety before funding other projects.

Other firefighters testified they believe the City's financial situation is better today than even a year ago; and is now choosing to fund other -- what they call -- discretionary projects.

Later in the day, City Manager Andrew Clinger and Finance Director Robert Chisel took the stand. Both explained while the City's financial picture has improved, Reno still faces significant fiscal challenges.

In May, the City sent 32 fire fighters lay off notices after the City lost a significant federal grant. Initially, the City stood to lose 50 fire fighters; but after the loss of the grant, the City found the funds to pay for 17 positions.

At this hour, the lawyers are arguing whether the court or an arbitrator has the authority to provide preliminary injunction relief to block the layoffs.

News 4 will continue coverage on this story throughout the evening.

RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- A hearing is underway right now in the Washoe County District Court that has pitted the City of Reno against the Reno Fire Fighters Association in their attempt to block the City from laying off 32 firefighters.

Fire Captain Seth Williams testified that a labor contract specifies lay-offs can only occur if there is a lack of work or money, but said there is no lack of work. Regarding money, Captain Williams said the City is choosing to spend money in different areas. The Reno Fire Fighters Association is arguing the City cannot unilaterally change staffing levels without negotiating with union, but the City of Reno claims it has a right to consider staffing levels. 

Captain Williams pointed out that -- if layoffs are successful -- staffing levels would be equal to those in 1977, even though the community has grown dramatically since that time. Growing the City and decreasing the Fire Department will not increase safety, Captain Williams said.

Tune in to News 4 at 4 p.m. for more on this developing story.

4 Comment(s)
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spike - 6/18/2014 4:00 PM
0 Votes
Denton are you a firefighter?

LASD1096 - 6/18/2014 3:27 PM
0 Votes
The Emergency Services must be a priority before anything else. The National Guard are not firefighters,they are not trained for structure fire entry. Not complaining about the guard, they are the best but our cities and countys deserve to have the full protection that the tax paying citizens pay for. There are plenty of other agendas the powers that be can choose not to do and keep these emergency response crews on their full duties, utilizing the training we have paid for them to have and know that we as a community have that protection.

freedomrings - 6/17/2014 5:39 PM
1 Vote
Worst case scenario, we can always call in the National Guard. What ever it takes to break the union's back.

Denton - 6/17/2014 3:46 PM
0 Votes
I am with the firefighters on this one. Especially this is fire season and the difference could cost lives. They put theirs on the line all the time, the least we can do is be there for them in their time of need.

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