Fire officials, community members petition to rehire 9 laid off East Naples firefighters

Kingman Schuldt was named active chief of the East Naples Fire Control and Rescue District on Sept. 27 after Fire Chief Keith Teague retired.

Photo by AARON HALE

Kingman Schuldt was named active chief of the East Naples Fire Control and Rescue District on Sept. 27 after Fire Chief Keith Teague retired.

Video from NBC-2

— East Naples firefighters and community members plan to occupy tonight's board of fire commissioners meeting in hopes of convincing the board to agree to pay and benefit cuts firefighters proposed to bring back nine of their peers laid off last month.

The Collier Professional Firefighters and Paramedics union, which represents East Naples and Golden Gate firefighters, sent a memo to fire officials agreeing to cuts that they say will save the district enough money to rehire the nine, who were laid off to save the district about $1 million.

East Naples fire commissioners voted unanimously in support of the layoffs in a decision made partly to deal with a $3.2 million budget shortfall.

The firefighters plan to back their offer by attending tonight's meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at 2700 N. Horseshoe Drive. They will be supported by community members, who have organized a protest with signs and planned speakers.

Acting East Naples Fire Chief Kingman Schuldt said last month that tonight is the earliest the board could reconsider their decision.

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