Mt. Vernon Register-News

March 15, 2013

East St. Louis to lay off 22 firefighters


Associated Press

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EAST ST. LOUIS (AP) — East St. Louis plans to lay off 22 firefighters later this year because of a lack of funds, reducing the city's total to 31.

Financial Advisory Authority budget director Brandon Drake says the layoffs will happen because a three-year, $3.3 million federal grant runs out at the end of March. He says the city has enough money to keep the firefighters employed through May.

Drake told the Belleville News-Democrat (http://bit.ly/10NLlqU) city officials will sit down with firefighters to discuss a plan to mitigate the layoffs.

Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. said Thursday the city hasn't applied for an extension of the Federal Emergency Management Agency grant because it isn't clear the program will continue.

City officials say it will take $900,000 a year to keep the 22 firefighters on staff.