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Detroit to lose 164 firefighter jobs

June 26, 2012 at 7:34 PM

DETROIT, June 26 (UPI) -- Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has announced plans to lay off 164 firefighters due to a 13 percent cut in the fire department's budget effective next month.

Dan McNamara, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association, called the Monday announcement "indefensible."

"These cuts by the city will put its Fire Department and its residents at great risk -- increasing response times and further taxing an already greatly reduced work force," McNamara said in a statement.

Bing said he hopes the city wins a federal grant allowing the department to rehire 108 of the positions, the Detroit News reported.

"Since I became mayor, I've made public safety my top priority, and I've said I would protect the jobs of police and firefighters, but fiscal realities have made this untenable," Bing said.

Detroit's 2012-13 budget includes $250 million in cuts from nearly every department, meaning the loss of about 2,600 jobs. The fire department's budget will be trimmed to about $160 million, the newspaper said.

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