Ogdensburg firefighters union threatens lawsuit over city’s proposed layoffs

Updated: Nov. 5, 2020 at 3:13 PM EST
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OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - The union for Ogdensburg firefighters is threatening a lawsuit if the city follows through on plans to lay off 10 firefighters.

The layoffs are part of the Skelly Administration’s proposed 2021 budget. It’s estimated the cuts would save the city more than $1 million.

Firefighters say it would be a blatant violation of their contract. They also say it would endanger public safety.

“This is litigation that the city is going to lose and pay hand over fist in attorney’s fees defending,” said Nathaniel Lambright, lawyer for Ogdensburg Professional Firefighters Local 1799.

“I think it’s unfortunate we’re already talking about lawsuits. This is a topic that the community expects us to be working together on. I’m making every effort to work with the firefighters union,” said Stephen Jellie, Ogdensburg city manager.

The union points out firefighter staffing issues in Watertown cost the city more than $1 million.

Ogdensburg officials say their issue is different and that they would prevail in court.

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