57 MFD firefighters set to retire this year - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

57 MFD firefighters set to retire this year

Memphis Fire Association President Thomas Malone says by Tuesday, 57 fire fighters will have retired since the start of the year. That's nearly 10 percent of the city's firefighters. (Source: WMC Action News 5) Memphis Fire Association President Thomas Malone says by Tuesday, 57 fire fighters will have retired since the start of the year. That's nearly 10 percent of the city's firefighters. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - Union leaders say dozens of firefighters are leaving Memphis. They are warning taxpayers to brace for higher overtime costs in order to cover the loss.

Memphis Fire Association President Thomas Malone says by Tuesday, 57 firefighters will have retired since the beginning of the year. That is nearly 10 percent of the department.

"It's like a bunch of kids playing. That's exactly what it is. When one kid gets mad, if he owns the ball, the games over," said Malone.

While Malone says 57 retirements by mid-year is not an unusual number, the difference this time around is that there are no fire academy classes in session and younger firefighters are looking for jobs outside of Memphis.

"You look at these numbers. They're retiring, they're quitting, they're hurt, they're injured," Malone added.

After speaking with fire departments all over America, Malone found that they are now taking a higher number of applications from Memphis firefighters.

"How can you raise your family? How can you plan a budget, when you're wondering, 'Oh my God, what are they taking next time?" Malone said.

Those concerns have grown louder since City of Memphis and Memphis City Council cut health care for employees and retirees. The number of sick calls peaked at 80 on Saturday.

"They may take everything we've got, but you know what? There'll be another council, there'll be another mayor, and there'll be another vote and anything they take from these folks, we'll get it back. I swear my dying breath on that," Malone said.

The issue will ramp up Tuesday at 8 a.m. when the Personnel Committee will welcome public input on alternatives to health care cuts. Suggestions range from a sales tax hike to shifting employees to the state plan.

The deadline to register to speak was Friday.

The city sent us the list of retirees, who are mostly high-ranking. They say they all put in for retirement three years before the health care cuts.

Here is that list sent to us by City of Memphis:

Lt. James C. Beasley

Lt. Perry L. Berryman

Lt. John A. Brown

Lt. James R. Chastain

Lt. Sidney R. Crow

Lt. Gerald A. Horvath

Lt. Ralph W. Johnson

Lt. Roosevelt Jones Jr.

Lt. Rickey L. Neal

Lt. David C. Perry

Lt. Murray G. Shelton

Lt. Phillip L. tillman

Drv. Steven M. Bonds

Drv. Stephen B. Walker

Pvt. Michael A. Baker

Pvt. Albert M. Butcher Jr.

Pvt. Raymond R. Pope

Pvt. Gregory L. Thomas

Comm. Magr. Carol J. Walker

Inspector William Hammond

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.
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