CHARLOTTE, Mich. — On Monday, all 23 volunteer firefighters of the Charlotte Fire Department resigned. However, this might not be the end. The city is working with them on a resolution and scheduled a special public hearing for Monday, March 28, at 7 p.m.
“I think council needs to hear specifics from the volunteers as to what the problems are and what they feel would be needed to resolve it,” said Charlotte Mayor Michael Armitage. “The city manager and the fire chief are ultimately going to be the ones that have to decide what the next steps are.”
During the council meeting on Monday, Ronald Smith, a former volunteer firefighter announced their resignations. Smith stated baseless claims and untruths as reasons.
“There should be no questions from any of you about how many trucks or dispatch or how many people it takes to save a life,” Smith said during the meeting.
Armitage said part of their unhappiness stemmed from budget questions. He said, the city of Charlotte has been in a tough financial position.
According to Armitage, he and council members did ask questions overtime the same way as they have asked other departments, but not relating the questions to the volunteer firefighters specifically. “I don't think anybody in council had any malicious intent. You know, we made budget decisions, including raising taxes to try to protect and make sure we didn't cut public safety,” Armitage said. “Through that process, we did ask questions. Members of council and myself did ask questions, and I don't think any of that was meant as a personal attack or questioning.”
The volunteer firefighters met with manager Erin LaPere today and proposed resolutions.
Meanwhile, Armitage requested a special council meeting on Monday to give the council the chance to hear and react to all problems publicly.
Smith reacted to the announcement of the meeting, saying he expects to present the volunteer firefighter’s proposed resolutions at the meeting on Monday.
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