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Mayor OK with Fire Cuts, but Not at Expense of Jobs

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James presented his city budget recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year on Thursday, and he stands by the recommendation to cut millions from the city's Fire Department, but stops short of saying that the cuts should come at the expense of firefighter jobs.

James says that he agrees with City Manager Troy Schulte's plans to cut $7.5 million from the KCFD budget to help pay for raises for other city employees, but disagrees with the plan to eliminate 105 firefighter positions to help pay for the cuts, saying that he will leave the decision on how to pay for the cuts to KCFD Chief Smokey Dyer.

"If he can find ways to make the cuts necessary without doing violence to the mission, and the cuts are still made, then the Fire Department and exemplary wins and the city wins as well," said James. "I think they can find substantial savings.  But it will require the cooperation of our workforce. The head of (firefighter's union) local 42 said yesterday he'd give us that cooperation."

"So this is the way to do it. You let the professionals say where you can make the cuts. You don't mandate how they do it," said James.

Dyer did not respond to FOX 4's requests for comment.

The City Council chambers were also filled with about 250 Kansas City Missouri Police officers on Thursday, wanting to make their voices heard on a plan that would tie nearly $5 million in raises to their joining the city's health insurance plan. James did not address that issue.

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