Bing Announces Firefighter Layoffs in Detroit

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Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced the city would issue layoff notices to 164 firefighters before the end of July, according to the Associated Press.

* Detroit has 881 firefighters. The cuts will reduce that number 18 percent to a maximum of 717.

* Bing said he was counting on a federal grant to provide enough funding to call back 108 of the firefighters, according to the Detroit News. There is no guarantee the city will be awarded the grant.

* There is a chance the remaining 56 personnel being cut at the end of July could be called back. Bing said spots could open through attrition.

* The fire department's budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year is being reduced by 13 percent.

* Bing insisted "Since I became mayor, I have made public safety my top priority," as quoted by the Detroit News.

* Bing also said Detroit Fire Commissioner Don Austin has provided a plan for dealing with the cuts to maximize the department's efficiency. According to the Detroit Free Press, it includes community fire prevention education, the use of GPS devices to more effectively deploy engines and risk analysis to determine how to fight a structural fire.

* Bing's announcement came on the heels of the Associated Press reporting at least 16 structural fires in the city on Sunday and Monday.

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.

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