Firefighter terminations causing heated controversy in Howell

(12/07/04) HOWELL Some residents in Howell are worried about their safety after learning all of the townships five full-time firefighters have been laid off.

The firefighters were given no official reason for their termination, however, one of those let go from his job says it was a matter of revenge. Scott Alvarez says he and his co-workers were fired because they reported several firehouse safety violations to OSHA. Alvarez also says the firefighters are being punished for letting people know the commissioners failed to enroll them in the state pension plan.

In a written statement, Commissioner Bill Donahue said the district had sufficient coverage between volunteers and mutual aid. He also states the township will save $300,000 per year with the layoffs.

No matter what the reasons, residents in Howell say they fear the reduced staff will hinder response time. The Howell Township manager says he was unaware of the cuts and he plans on looking into the matter further.

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