Detroit firefighters, who face an uncertain future amid Detroit's bankruptcy, are announcing their official support today for mayoral candidate Mike Duggan.
Members of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association, Local 344, will meet with Duggan in front of a shuttered fire station, Ladder Co. 19, at 10700 Shoemaker, near French Road, at 2 p.m.
Ladder 19 illustrates some the problems the department faces. The department left the station dark for periods of time, and the downtime lead to repeated lootings of the facility, which is now unusable.
“At a time when Detroit’s future is literally being shaped amidst financial turmoil, Mike’s commitment to the security and safety of the public and our members was critical to him winning our endorsement,” Teresa Sanderfer, Local 344’s Secretary, said in a statement.
"Duggan’s record over the years of meeting with Fire Fighters face to face in firehouses lent considerable credibility to his pledge of giving Detroit Fire Department members a role in shaping the department going forward," Sanderfer said.
In a statment from the Duggan campaign, DFFA President Dan McNamara was quoted as saying: "“Mike insisted on meeting with our firefighters here at Ladder 19 to get an understanding of what is wrong with how the fire department is being run.
“This building is a perfect example of the kind of management problems we need Mike Duggan to help us fix as our next mayor so we can provide residents the level of service and protection they deserve.”
Duggan also has received the endorsement of the fire department's EMS division, whose employees belong to a separate union.
Even before Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr took control of Detroit city government, the fire department had suffered significant cutbacks under Mayor Dave Bing, which went on top of reductions by previous mayors. The cutbacks mean that at busy times, officials have to scramble to get rigs to fires in a timely fashion, often sending units from one end of Detroit to another, increasing response times.
The fire department is almost certain to undergo a restructuring under Orr, and it also could be in line for an infusion of up to 150 new firefighters, thanks to federal funds that are headed to Detroit to help alleviate its financial crisis.
On Tuesday, Duggan's opponent, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, received endorsements from Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and four unions representing law enforcement officers in Detroit and Wayne County: the Detroit Police Officers Association; the Detroit Police Lieutenant and Sergeants Association; the Wayne County Police Lieutenant, Sergeants and Corporals Association; and the Wayne County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association.
Polls show Duggan with a sizable lead over Napoleon with the Nov. 5 election about a month away.