Newspaper article

Minneapolis Rehiring Six Firefighters with Federal Funding

Newspaper article

Minneapolis Rehiring Six Firefighters with Federal Funding

Article excerpt

Six Minneapolis firefighters who were laid off 10 months ago will be rehired as quickly as possible, following City Council action Friday to accept a federal grant.

The city will use $1,066,924 from a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant to cover two years' costs.

"Every firefighter makes a difference," said Fire Chief John Fruetel after the council vote.

The hires will bring back the last of a group of 10 who were laid off. The move will put the Fire Department at full strength with 388 sworn firefighters.

Some firefighters have been critical of the department for staffing levels, claiming that last month's fire at Walker Community United Methodist Church fire might have been contained if more firefighters had been on the scene.

Fruetel disagrees. He says fires in churches can be difficult to control because concealed spaces allow the flames to build out of sight. The department currently is staffed with 92 firefighters a day.

The chief said he will expedite the hiring process and hopes to have the six rehired in the "next few weeks."

The party is delayed

City Council action on an ordinance that would allow owners of on- sale liquor licenses to add four days of events at their businesses was delayed Friday because of inadequate notification of neighborhood organizations.

The license holders currently can use their parking lots and buildings for special events eight days a year. The change would allow 12 one-day events during a calendar year.

Council Member Meg Tuthill suggested the delay, saying some neighborhood organizations in her ward got only a one-week notification because of the Memorial Day weekend. They are required to get notification two weeks before a public hearing.

"We need to give more information to the folks who live here and the folks who do business here," said Tuthill, who said there is a potential for problems in high-density residential areas.

"Wow, let's roll up the streets now," said Council Member Lisa Goodman, who opposed the delay, saying it pushes the event planning later into the summer. She also said the committee agreed during the public hearing that adding four more event days was "not that big of a deal. …

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