Nearly 30 Memphis firefighters scheduled to retire this week

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – It looks like the red rash is clearing up. Sunday, 60 firefighters were off the job, that’s down from Saturday’s staggering count of 80.

Memphis Fire officials say only ten of the 60 called in sick for just Sunday.

As many as 50 of the firefighters who didn’t show up for work, are on long-term sick leave.

Even though the number of sick firefighters is going down, WREG discovered another potential problem for the already strained department.

This week, 30 Memphis firefighters will call out for good, because they are retiring.

The retirements are scheduled, they happen on the 15th of the month at the end of every quarter.

But now, many are questioning if this new class of retirees, puts firefighters under even more strain.

“Where is the protection coming from? I have friends who are police officers and firefighters; they are working around the clock right now,” said Memphian Al Yalbrough.

Memphian Barbara Weeks fears the permanent loss off more than two dozen firefighters at once, could put her in harm’s way, “It’s scary to know that something can happen and it may take a longer time for them to come and save everything that I’ve worked for.”

Memphis Fire Association President Thomas Malone said Memphis firefighters will cover shifts to keep families protected.

Malone says city leaders did not do their part to stop this strain from happening, “We have not done a good job of preparing. We have not had a plan. We haven’t had a recruit class in a couple years.”

When many people retire, you usually find them celebrating.

Malone says this week, new fire department retirees are calculating, “You got a lot of people saying, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know if I can even afford to retire. I’ve got to pay 100% of my insurance.”

Downtowner Al Yalbrough said it’s time for city leaders to re-calculate.

“I don’t understand why we can’t find the money. We’re wasting plenty of money. The Pyramid, that was a waste of money. We have Beale Street Landing, I don’t know if that’s going to work out or not. We have to get priorities right in the city of Memphis,” said Yalbrough.

There are two separate budgets which fund building projects and pensions.

Malone said  some of the retirees may be part of the firefighters on long-term sick leave.

There are 21 Memphis police officers scheduled to retire this month.

20 comments

  • stashamo

    “It`s scary to know that something can happen and it may take a longer time for them to come and save everything that I`ve worked for,” said Weeks.

    I wholeheartedly agree. It’s scary to think I may have an intoxicated/drugged patient injure me or to have a roof collapse on me and think ‘How am I going to survive on $300 a month? How is my family going to get by if I’m injured?’

    The sad truth is that they would be better off if I died in the line of duty than just got injured.

  • canadianwhiskeygirl

    Doesn’t surprise me at all about this. Push came to shove. Before all this happened, this 4 way stop corner stayed busy with mpd. They all came rushing down thru here full code at all hours. They all need to stand their ground for what’s rightfully due them. ,

  • Thomas Hodge (@thodge77)

    All the people saying “find the money” and blaming the Pyramid and Beale St. Landing obviously have no clue how much they cost vs. the retirement shortfall. Retirement shortfall is billions….that’s not just money we can “find”.

    • Dr. JohnS

      The money was there just like the money for the schools, but it was squandered by a bunch of thieves who work for the city. Paying millions to mow lawns and none were cut, the list goes on and on. They think we citizens are stupid but we know what is happening. There is still embezzlement going on that has not been found and the perpetrator caught. Just like the millions of dollars for the knuckle head who bought the food for the cafeterias and then ended up throwing it in the dump. Waste abounds in this city.

  • Josh

    Hodge billions? Better read up on what you preach. You sound like a dumb a$$ if it is hurting so bad why did they give the sanatation dept a pension without ever contributing how much is that short fall

  • Josh

    Hodge billions? Better read up on what you preach. You sound like a dumb a$$ if it is hurting so bad why did they give the sanatation dept a pension without ever contributing how much is that short fall

  • canadianwhiskeygirl

    Josh, guess we were both trying to post at same time. Yours made it. Will re do my tomorrow.

    • canadianwhiskeygirl

      Nuh uh, the end, just wiping those boots off ain’t getting rid of the germs. A clorox product to get rid of the germs, then simple green to get rid of that supremely foul odor!!!

  • gypsy lee

    you can all thank wharton,little, and city council for all this mess. i have 2 very good friends on the mpd and they
    are truly good officers, and did not participate in the blue flu episode, but they are taking jobs elsewhere, one is going to florida,and one is going to california. they will still be in law enforcement but with decent beneficts.
    this is a sad loss for mpd. but they have families to think of , both have been on the mpd 10 yrs.plus

  • scooby do

    In two years Memphis will have lost a huge number of police and firefighters and they will not be able to hire any more. Memphis has struggled to hire in the past with what they were offering before in the way of pay and benefits. The people of Memphis have no idea what is about to happen to their police and fire departments. All the young guys are leaving in droves and everyone who can retire is doing so to try to get started on something else as quickly as possible.

    The saddest part is none of this had to happen. It is all because of bad decisions and bad management. There isn’t really any excuse for it. Really sad and the people it is going to hurt the most are the people who need the services the most. Services that won’t be there any longer. 2016 will be the year the police dept vanishes for the most part. Hang on people because you will be on your own after that.

  • Smh

    people wonder why people want and are leaving this nothing city… Jobs are shorted you can’t find work then to mess with a whole entire police dept and fire dept is crazy you have to have the two depts in order for the city to thrive. Your mayor is riding clean overpaid and doesn’t give a s..t about the people here. U messing with retirees and people on the job. Smh. People all of this is a reflection of people you put in place on the job. Its as simple as abc, 123 , stop voting corrupt people in!!!!!!!

  • Don

    Does anyone know who was mayor of Shelby County who almost bankrupted it before he was bought out, so he could run for mayor of Memphis which had plenty of money to throw away?
    Awe come on, make a guess.

  • Larry Boothby

    I get a kick out of how they are trying to point out that general fund, and capital improvement budgets are different, but what they don’t talk about is how much of the capital improvement budget is debt, which then must be paid for out of the general fund. City leaders spent and spent and spent, all on credit, and now that the bills are coming due, they are trying to lay it all on the backs of (mostly) cops and firefighters. The Chamber of Commerce got involved because they saw that the government trough was about to come up empty. They want to throw employees under the bus, so that the city can continue to borrow more money for private projects like Sears Crosstown, and the mall. The thing is, if these were such good projects, you would have private investors beating down the door to get in on the deal, but they aren’t. They are dogs, which is why they are trying to get government to foot the bill, and the only way they can do that is to reduce debt buy cutting loose the retiree’s and getting rid of the pension.

  • Kay

    what a big mess, wharton does not care, he will have 2 pensions plus law fee income, etc. plus other investments he has on the side but he placed all his buddies in top dog jobs making more than police and fire with lots of OT.
    guys and girls of mpd and mfd, get out while u can, go somewhere else and have a better life. Good luck to you.
    We appreciate your time and what you have done for Memphis.

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