Wayne, Westland celebrate official merger of fire service
August 23, 2012 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
‘We Are One’
The Wayne and Westland communities had something to celebrate this week with the official opening of the newly consolidated Wayne-Westland Fire Administration Building.
The ceremony made the move of the Westland Fire Administration into the head- quarters at the four-year-old station on Wayne Road in Wayne official. The building is now called the Wayne-Westland Fire Administration Building. Fire Chief Michael Reddy will oversee the operation of the joint department.
Reddy retired as the Westland Fire Chief and is now a contract employee. The new agreement will save Wayne about $140,000 per year and Westland about $180,000 each year. Additionally, a new fire administration building in Westland which had been discussed is no longer necessary.
The two communities were also able to apply for six-month extensions on their SAFER federal grants which currently fund nine firefighters in Westland and five in Wayne. The grant extensions would prevent any layoffs when scheduled retirements are factored in, noted Reddy. Currently, the Westland department has 68 uniformed and two non-uniform personnel while there are 18 on the Wayne staff. The combined force of 88 will now serve the 84,000 residents of Westland and 17,000 residents of Wayne.
A $1.4 million Economical Vitality Incentive Program grant would also pay for the replacement of air packs and nozzles, making them consistent for vehicles and fire fighting equipment in both communities and fund new uniforms and vehicle signage. The grant is available to the joint operation as part of Gov. Rick Snyder’s Dashboard priorities, rewarding communities that operate using “best practices” and one set of operating procedures used in both cities.
“I am proud to be involved in such an innovative venture with Mayor (Al) Haidous and the City of Wayne. With the plan being supported by both the Westland and Wayne city councils and fire unions, this is a real win-win for all,” said Westland Mayor William Wild.
Wild added that through the agreement, both cities will have access to more fire personnel on a daily basis, increasing public safety without placing a burden on the taxpayers. He added that the merger creates long-term savings by eliminating duplication of management and supplies, while concurrently reducing employee costs
“The new Wayne-Westland Fire Administration headquarters represents a new way forward for local governments to reduce costs through consolidation while continuing to meet their critical public safety duties,” said Lt Gov. Brian Calley, who attended the ceremony last Monday morning. “As Governor Snyder outlined in his special message on public safety, intergovernmental agreements can overcome challenges through collaborative, comprehensive and long-term approaches, and we applaud Wayne and Westland for setting a great example. It’s this type of teamwork that will help reinvent Michigan, “added Calley.
“We have worked really hard and a lot of people have put forth the extra effort in making this a reality. I think you are going to see a lot more of this, not only in our communities, but across the state and we hope to be the blueprint for these future efforts,” said Wayne Mayor Al Haidous.
The Wayne and Westland firefighters on staff have independent union bargaining agreements with their respective communities and the terms of those agreements are being respected, according to Wild