Seventeen members of the Hialeah Fire Department were laid off Thursday, a move expected to save the city about $2.5 million.
Those laid off include captains, lieutenants and district chiefs. All were members of the state’s deferred retirement option program, or DROP, which allows participants to accumulate benefits and grow them at a compounded rate for up to five years while they are still employed, according to CBS4’s news partner The Miami Herald.
Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina said the layoffs will not impact the city’s services and the department will fill empty positions as needed.
But the move drew criticism from the city’s firefighter union. The union president, Mario Pico, countered the city will not reduce its overall cost, partly because more firefighters will have to be hired to maintain the staffing levels.
During a bitter budget season and deadlocked contract talks, Hialeah imposed $12.5 million worth of cuts to its police and general employees for the current fiscal year, according to The Miami Herald.