Archived Story

Nine to be laid off from IPD

Published 10:57am Tuesday, April 17, 2012

 

Less than two months before Ironton was to stop its dispatching operation, Mayor Rich Blankenship has sent out layoff letters to the four dispatchers, as well as five officers.

The letters went out Monday afternoon. Part of the proposed layoffs are five police officers: Chad Artrip, Jamie Pruitt, Larry Large, John Hammonds and Chad Gue and dispatchers Kenton Jordan, Michelle Colvin, Troy Eddleman and Mark Duncan.

According to the notice given to officers, their layoffs will begin May 10; dispatchers will be laid off May 18.

Mayor Rich Blankenship said he didn’t like having to issue the notices but, per the contract the city has with its unions, the notice must come within a specified time frame. Blankenship said in spite of the recent municipal fee increase, the city is still facing dwindling state funding and cannot continue to keep spending at its current pace. He did not rule out more layoffs.

“We’re looking at all three unions,” he said. “We can’t rule it out.”

Sgt. Pam Neal Wagner, who is head of the local Fraternal Order of Police union, said the layoff notices were very disappointing.

“This is very disappointing, and definitely not anything we were anticipating after the (municipal) fee increase.” She said the city and union were in negotiations and is hopeful an agreement can be reached that does not include layoffs.

“We’ve lost three people in the last two years and those were not filled so we’re already down in staff,” Wagner said. “Chief and all, we only have 16 people. If they lay off those five, it leaves only 11.” She described the staff at the police department as some of the best she has ever worked with.

Blankenship said he is working diligently with the unions and hopes to come to a resolution as well but said, “I only have so much money to work with.”

Budget woes have plagued the city for the past year with a possible solution having another agency take over its dispatching.

City officials have met on several occasions with the sheriff and Lawrence County Commissioners about the possibility of the county taking over the city’s dispatching.

Sheriff Jeff Lawless has estimated to do that he would have to hire two full-time employees and a part-time employee with a total cost of about $125,000 to the city.

Ironton officials are also in negotiations with Greenup County about having their dispatchers handle Ironton calls.

About a week ago the commissioners put the 911 dispatching under the authority of the sheriff.

That consolidation is expected to take effect in eight months. Lawless expects to have to hire three full-time and a part-time dispatchers.

 

 

  • mb274849

    Imagine that. No surprise to me at all. Too many lazy bums that claim disability at early adulthood and collect foodstamps,welfare checks and medical care for free while there are a few that kill themselves working and paying in taxes for the lazy ones..so naturally there isn’t enough money for the ones working to keep everything going. Grow up and take responsibility.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Iwill; Your comments have merit, keep them coming. Don’t undersell the “street department”, they are also important. The street department is handicapped by the lack of funds thru no fault of their own. Taxes and the lack of, is the culprit. Taxes are vitally important to the stability or foundation of a sound government. Government services cannot be provided without the leavening of taxes on the populace.

    (Report comment)

  • lwill

    So. What did the 8 dollars on our the peolpe of the city pay on thw water bill to keep our COPS,FIREMEN in employement go to now.We have people going thru OUR city with METH labs, Cars in green valley getting broken into and Crime rates going up But lets let OUR COPS go and FIREMEN. Doesnt make sense to me how about some of the people who dont do anything around here but set on there butt and I am sure street department can take some lay offs due to the streets of IRONTON are BAD!!! we need the COPS AND FIREMEN

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    caglewis; Your perception is to be commended.

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  • caglewis

    Why have governmental employees become so disparaged?
    Don’t we all need and depend on the services of law-enforcement, fire-fighters, teachers, trash collectors, and public health providers? Governor Kasich despises the Public Employees Retirement System which he sees as a drain on his budget for the benefit of unworthy people.
    Try doing without the services all PERS and STRS employees provide, and THEN ridicule their contributions!

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    As a PS: It is quite obvious, Mayor Rich Blankenship wasn’t born yesterday. My compliments Mayor.

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  • mickakers

    If I understand this article correctly, negotiations are in process between the FOP and City. I find it interesting that the additional layoffs of five police officers are added to the expected layoff of the four dispatchers at this particular time. Swimmingupstream; I find your comment insightful and food for thought. My compliments.

    (Report comment)

  • swimmingupstream

    Come on, city council. This is a no-brainer. 9 police personnel plus benefits would probably be about $400,000. Divide that by 4500 water meters and that comes to about $8 a month per water meter. Problem solved.

    (Report comment)

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