Morgantown first responder unions vote no-confidence in city government

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) – The Morgantown police and fire unions have voted “no confidence” in the entire city administration, which they say has refused them pay and has caused significant staffing and retention issues for Morgantown first responders.

A vote of no confidence is a public way for groups to vocalize that they are against certain elected officials.

According to a press release from Toriseva Law, members of the fire union, IAFF Local 313, and the police union, My Preston FOP Lodge 87, voted against the following officials:

  • Jennifer Selin, mayor and member of the city council of the 4th arrondissement
  • Deputy Mayor and 5th Ward Council Member Danielle Trumble
  • 1st Ward Council Member Joe Abu-Ghannam
  • Bill Kawecki, 2nd Ward Council Member
  • Ixya Vega, member of the 3rd district council
  • Dave Harshbarger, 6th Ward Council Member
  • Brian Butcher, 7th Ward Council Member
  • City Manager A. Kim Haws
  • Deputy City Manager Emily Muzzarelli
  • Director of Human Resources John Bihun

Lawyer for the two unions, Teresa Toriseva, cited several recent “administrative attacks” by city officials, including taking steps to cut first responders’ salaries, not paying them, refusing a city wages and compensation study and going against state law to establish a civilian review board. Unions have sued for all of these complaints, according to Toriseva.

“The city’s conduct towards its police officers negatively affects our ability to retain and recruit police officers,” said Mon-Preston FOP President Brandon Viola.

“A city’s failure to support its firefighters puts public safety at risk,” said IAFF Local 313 President Mitchell Beall. “Due to the City’s efforts to reduce our pay and benefits and its refusal to follow minimum fire safety standards, we have significant retention and recruitment issues.

“The main function of a city is to ensure the safety of citizens,” Toriseva said in the statement. “Firefighters and police are still on duty. No matter how bad the job conditions get, the police and firefighters of Morgantown show up to protect the town and its citizens. She continued, “Citizen safety requires fully staffed police and fire departments, especially when WVU students are in school. Through the city’s so-called “human resources policy”, it creates a hostile work environment for its first responders that diminishes staffing, recruitment, retention and morale. »

12News contacted the city of Morgantown for comment but did not receive a response.

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