Higgins Fire District to lay off 6 employees this month | TheUnion.com

Higgins Fire District to lay off 6 employees this month

Six employees of the Higgins Area Fire Protection Fire District will learn this month that they’ve been selected for layoffs.

The layoffs, approved last month in the wake of a third failed tax vote, will affect three firefighters and three operators. Those affected will lose their jobs effective July 1, when funding for the positions will end.

“Most of these guys have been through this before,” Higgins Battalion Chief Jerry Good said.

The layoffs partially stem from the failed August vote that would have repealed a 35-year-old $25 tax on residential parcels. A $141-per-parcel tax on residences would have replaced it.

“Until the economy takes some huge jumps and we get some more revenue, we can’t do it.”Higgins Battalion Chief Jerry Good

According to Good, the Higgins board of directors has declined to seek another vote. The lack of increased tax funds, coupled with the expiration of a grant, led the board to approve the layoffs.

“Until the economy takes some huge jumps and we get some more revenue, we can’t do it,” Good said.

Fire officials now are determining who the layoffs will affect, with seniority playing a role. The district must give those affected a 30-day notice. Officials, however, want to provide more notice than required, giving those employees more time to find other jobs, Good said.

Some employees slated for layoffs could opt to demote themselves. Their seniority could then protect them from layoffs, and officials would then have to select someone else.

That would then start another 30-day notice period for the affected employee.

If anyone selected for layoff finds another job before July 1, fire officials would need to temporarily fill that position, use overtime or close that shift, Good said.

The reduced staffing will result in changes to operations at three fire stations.

The Higgins Corner station will continue to have firefighters in both summer and winter.

The Morning Sun Lane and McCourtney Road stations will have only paid call firefighters or a resident program in the winter.

Cal Fire or Higgins employees would staff the Higgins Corner and McCourtney Road stations during the summer. Only the Morning Sun Lane station would rely on paid call firefighters or the resident program during the warm, dry season.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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