|August 19, 2010
Kokomo recalls laid-off workers
brought back this week
By SCOTT SMITH
Tribune staff writer
Kokomo — The city of Kokomo hired back nine laid-off
firefighters Wednesday, ending more than a year of waiting for the
firefighters and their families.
Federal stimulus funds, in the form of a $1.9 million
grant, will pay all of the recalled firefighters’ salaries and benefits
for the next two years.
The nine being brought back are the last laid-off
firefighters to be brought back on the department.
Last April, the Kokomo city administration laid off
12 firefighters in a move that sparked a massive protest at Foster
At the time, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said the
cost-cutting move was fiscally necessary.
The city had just ended the Kokomo Fire Department’s
emergency medical service and allowed Kokomo’s two hospitals to take
all of the ambulance runs formerly performed by fire crews.
Wednesday, Kokomo Fire Chief Pat O’Neill said the
recalled firefighters will eventually be assigned to various KFD
He said hiring back the firefighters was not related
to the new fire station to be located on East Center Road.
At one point, a total of 16 firefighters were laid
off from the department; four were laid off prior to last year’s EMS
The city brought back six of those firefighters prior
to receiving the federal grant.
After receiving the grant this summer, the city
offered jobs to the remaining 10 laid-off firefighters, and nine of
them accepted a position, O’Neill said. One firefighter had already
taken a position with another department, he added.
The federal grant was meant to fund a total of 13
firefighters, and O’Neill said officials are considering whether to
hire four additional firefighters.
He said the city will start a new eligibility list,
but stressed that no decisions have been made.
The old eligibility list is more than three years
old, he said, so anyone who signed up for the previous list will have
to submit a new application, he added.
The firefighters hired back Wednesday are: Matt King,
Matt Geary, Julie Ann Bryan, Matt Davis, Kevin Duggins, Thomas Granson,
Derek Michael, Josh Rodabaugh and Todd Bellaw.
The 10th remaining laid-off firefighter, Dustin
Raymer, took a job with another department and won’t be returning,
Each of the recalled firefighters will receive a week
of refresher training before being assigned to a truck, O’Neill said.
• Scott Smith is a Kokomo Tribune staff writer. He
may be reached at 765-454-8569 or via e-mail at