DuPont Mayor Michael Grayum says he will retain one of three firefighters slated to be laid off next month to forestall a major decline in the city’s medical emergency response.
The South Pierce city will keep the firefighter through the end of the year using money made available when Fire Chief Greg Hull resigned May 31.
The DuPont firefighters union stated on Twitter that Grayum’s decision is “huge for our team and our city.”
The loss of all three firefighters would have given the city bare minimum staffing. The two firefighters on duty would have faced an unsavory choice during a life-threatening emergency: Leave the community without emergency responders while handling the transport themselves, or wait for a private ambulance or citizens to take the patient to the hospital.
Grayum presented the plan to the City Council earlier this month and said in a news release Friday that he “decided to exercise (his) legal authority” to retain the firefighter.
DuPont didn’t have the money to continue to employ the firefighters it originally hired using a two-year federal stimulus grant awarded in 2011. The remaining layoffs take effect July 15.
In November, DuPont voters rejected a tax measure that would have kept the three firefighters and also provided revenue to make debt payments on City Hall and police and fire stations.
Grayum also announced he has authorized “temporary, out-of-class assignments” to provide daily supervision of the Fire Department. The department has been without leadership since Hull resigned and the city lost a contracted supervisor from West Pierce Fire & Rescue.
The mayor said he will propose long-term solutions to the city’s fire and emergency medical response challenges within the next two to three months.