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FOX13 News has told you about Memphis Police officers turning in their badges and their guns and looking for new jobs.
Frustration with city benefit cuts are leading to an exodus of officers.
FOX13 News has learned it's happening in the city's fire department too.
We've heard the complaints for months and letters obtained by FOX13 News confirm it. Bluff City firefighters and paramedics are leaving the city to take new jobs.
“It's like anything you push somebody far enough they get tired of it,” said Memphis Fire Fighters Association President Tommy Malone.
FOX13 News obtained three months' worth of resignation letters submitted by firefighters, many of them are quitting because of what they consider broken promises. They haven't had a raise in six years; the city had cut their pay by more than four-and-a-half percent, that's been restored.
Firefighters packed city hall last year as the council voted to increase their insurance costs by 24 percent and then the cut the pensions for some non-vested employees.
“They're putting family first,” Malone said. “I mean, they came here with the promise of certain things that the city has reneged on and these people are reacting. I mean it's what we've been saying all along.”
Malone looked at the letters that were obtained by FOX13 News. One firefighter/ paramedic wrote, "I can't keep coming to work and put my life on the line for other people's families when they won't take care of mine."
The firefighter/paramedic also said the Wharton administration was dishonest with the promises they made, so he got a paramedic job in Alabama.
“They don't have to go apply,” Malone said. “People are coming in here recruiting them.”
Malone said Memphis firefighters and paramedics are highly sought after because of the training they get. When I went through the resignations many said they are leaving to take new jobs out of state.
“I'm concerned really, really concerned that this is just like the tip of the iceberg, cause we know of five other jurisdictions that have been here recruiting that are not hiring just right yet,” Malone said.
And every firefighter quitting is costing the city cash.
“When you look at a paramedic that's been here for over three-and-a-half years we've probably got $300,000 invested in and that's taxpayer dollars,” Malone said.
The city has plans to hire new firefighters and paramedics, but Malone says he's concerned about the quality of applicants and the ability to fill the ranks.
Bottom line, Malone said it affects public safety.
A Memphis fire spokesman told FOX13 News they're in the process of putting together a new recruit class this year.
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