Mark Lopes beamed as Mayor James E. Harrington announced Tuesday that 15 firefighters were saved by the bell.
“I get to keep my house,” said Lopes, a firefighter for 2 1/2 years who was to be laid off next week.
Harrington joined Archie Gormley, president of Local 144 of the International Association of Firefighters, and Fire Chief Kenneth Galligan to tell the 15 men that their jobs were safe for another year.
“It’s my life,” said Eli Eleyi, a firefighter for four years who also faced a layoff.
The same men were in a group of firefighters set to be laid off in April, as the city faced a midyear crisis. Their jobs were saved when the Fire Department made concessions in overtime, diverting pay to cover the jobs until June 30. But, with a shortfall in the budget beginning July 1, layoffs loomed again.
Talks between the union and the mayor, supported by number crunching by John Condon, the city’s chief financial officer, ended with $1.2 million being put toward the salaries for the next year.
Harrington said the money came when severance money was diverted because of delayed retirements and more from the unemployment costs of the layoffs.
“This could have been devastating,” said Galligan. He had planned to take a ladder truck out of service because of the layoffs. Now that truck will remain active.
“This is a start,” said Gormley. “We’ll continue to work from here.”