Attrition will force closure

By Anthony J. Machcinski


Financial cuts that have weakened Kearny over the past couple years have finally started to “cut into the bone,” Fire Chief Steve Dyl said.

At the May 8 Town Hall Meeting, Chief Dyl announced that the Kearny Fire Department would not be hiring anyone to replace the 14 fi refi ghters who will have left the department via retirement by July 1 and, as a result, would be closing one fire company.

“I don’t like it,” said Chief Dyl. “It puts us in a dangerous situation.

” The idea to not fill the vacancies created by the retirements was raised during budget hearings earlier this year.

Some of the options being discussed are shutting down the Davis Ave. fi rehouse where Engine 1 is located; or shutting down one of the ladder companies stationed at the Kearny Ave. or Midland Ave. firehouses.

What would happen to the equipment in a fi rehouse that’s closed hasn’t yet been determined.

Asked how the cutbacks would impact fire protection services in town, Chief Dyl said that there would have to be some adjustments.

“It’s going to be one less company to the fires and there’s going to be less men on duty,” Dyl explained. “It’s a long time for backup, and it increases our reliance on mutual aid. It’s going to affect our ability to keep small fires small.”

Jeff Bruder, president of Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association Local 218, which bargains for Kearny firefighters, offered this take: “The effect is that there are going to be less men on the street. The service will not be the same the day before the cut as it is the day after the cut.”

While none of the officers are being replaced, at this time, there are no layoffs planned.

“No, I hope not,” Dyl said when asked about future layoffs. “We’re cutting bone right now. I don’t know what 2013 is going to be like.”

As the FMBA contract nears its end on July 1, according to Bruder, the recent cuts will, “have no affect on the negotiations.”

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