Council questions Youngstown Mayor on closing of fire station; Mayor blasts union
At the end of Wednesday nights Youngstown City Council meeting, 1st Ward Councilman Julius Oliver told Mayor Tito Brown he had no knowledge of the closing of fire station No. 7 and requested going forward that the Mayor keep them more informed.
"I'm suggesting and I'm asking that certain council person or council as a whole be informed of what's going on ahead of time so we can take our information back to our constituency, get what they need or what they want to see done and bring that feedback back to the administration so that a decision can be made on behalf of the citizens collectively with city council and the administration," said Oliver. "I'm asking for transparency and discussion moving forward."
Sixth Ward Councilwoman Anita Davis also said she was caught completely off guard.
"We can't just have things dropped into our laps, and I don't think the administration expected it to hit the newspaper and the media, but we should have been apprised of this stuff beforehand because it affects all of us," said Davis.
Mayor Brown responded by saying the closing was just a possibility and felt it was a conversation taking place as part of labor-management meetings.
"We cannot, and I can't say this enough, we can't have, every time a conversation happens, going to the media and have a conversation happen," said Brown. "If we are going to build relationships, it's got to be built on trust. The trust was broken yesterday when we had a labor and union-management meeting with the chief and his staff and the management here, that is where the trust was broken. They went directly to the media, here's what we found out. We were just telling them here are some things coming down the pike."
Tracey Wright, secretary for Firefighters Union Local 312, said she's disappointed hearing what the mayor said.
"We have been trying to have an ongoing relationship with the city," said Wright. "Unfortunately, the meeting yesterday, we were blindsided by the information that was presented to us. We asked for an agenda last week, and we were denied. We were told that we were not allowed to be informed by the law department of what the meeting was going to be about. That is not fair. We should have had that opportunity so that we could present our position at that time and have an open discussion as to what the labor-management meetings are supposed to be."
Wright said even if it's just a possibility the mayor is discussing a station closure, the public has the right to know.
"Closing a fire station and the cuts to jobs of manpower that provide a safety service I feel is important for the public to be aware of, even if it is a possibility," said Wright.