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LP continues to lose firefighters to private sector

June 22, 2018 GMT

La PORTE — La Porte Fire Chief Andrew Snyder announced the resignation of another firefighter to the Board of Public Works and Safety on Tuesday morning.

Snyder stated this is the third firefighter the department has lost recently to the private sector.

“It’s a big loss. The city puts a tremendous investment into each firefighter. Tens of thousands of dollars by the time they have a few years on the department,” Snyder said.

“And that’s besides the salary,” he said, adding thousands of dollars are from training and gear purchased for the firefighter.

Previously, Snyder said the reason for firefighters leaving was due to them taking jobs with other higher paying fire departments. These last three resignations, however, have all been firefighters leaving and going into the private sector — taking jobs with steel mills and refineries.

“It seems to be right now that there is an abundance of jobs out there which are much higher paying than ours,” Snyder said.

In the resignation letter read aloud to the Board of Public Works and Safety, the resigning firefighter stated his reason for leaving was due to having a salary which made raising children and having a comfortable lifestyle “hardly possible.”

When asked if fire department would have to consider raising their wages to prevent losing more firefighters in the future, Snyder said they’ll always try and work with the city but doesn’t believe they could ever truly compete with private industry jobs.

“I know that we can’t compete with those jobs,” he further said. “And there is such an abundance of them right now.”

The resigning firefighter also cited the rising number of calls answered by the fire department and the city not always understanding the department’s needs as reasons for his departure.

In unrelated news, the City of La Porte Common Council approved the appropriation of $10,000 from the Community Development Block Grant for the demolition of a building located at 701 Ohio St.

A review on the old structure was conducted by the Historic Preservation Society, Indiana Landmarks and People Engaged in Preservation who all approved of the demolition of the structure.

The council clarified the funds were grant funds, not funds from the city’s general fund, which were budgeted for last year but weren’t used and rolled over to this year.

In other matters, the common council approved a resolution to transfer $83,239.57 from the fund dedicated to paying salaries to the professional services expense fund in order to pay for the remainder of City Attorney Nick Otis’s contract.

Otis explained the reason behind the transfer is because unlike previous City Attorney Rebecca Meyer-McCuaig, who was a salaried employee, his services have been contracted by the city so he is not on the city’s salary.

In other business, both the common council and the Board of Public Works and Safety announced several upcoming events including:

• The Office of Community Development and Planning’s Housing Fair this Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the La Porte Civic Auditorium.

• The Household Hazardous Waste Drop this Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the La Porte County Fairgrounds.

• The La Porte Firefighters Association “Rock the Park” music festival at Fox Park on July 21 from noon until 11 p.m.