Judge Tells Lynn Mayor to Honor Safe Fire Staffing Agreement With Lynn Local 739, IAFF

June 19, 2017

An Essex Superior Court judge has ordered the Lynn Mayor Kennedy to ensure that the City meets its contractual and statutory obligations for safe staffing of the City's Fire Departments. This injunction represents a significant victory in the long fight of Lynn Local 739, lAFF against Mayor Kennedy's cuts to staffing in the last few months. Mayor Flanagan has for several months been "budgeting by brownouts," as explained below, at great risk to citizens and fire fighters.

The contract between Local 739 and the City requires a certain number of fire fighters to be working at all times. This staffing ensures that citizens and fire fighters have protection in case of emergencies. For decades, the City has honored this contractual commitment to staffing. But just a few months ago, Mayor Kennedy unilaterally cut staffing to save money. These cuts have reduced the fire equipment available. This is commonly known as "brown outs," which increases the response time of fire fighters to emergencies where every second counts

Local 739, led by President Michael O'Connor, took steps to ensure that the Mayor adequately funded the staffing in Fiscal Year 2018, which starts July 1. Mayor Kennedy refused to respond to multiple inquiries about whether she planned to ask City Council for sufficient funding. President O'Connor and Local 739 did not share this cavalier attitude about fire safety.

Therefore, Local 739 was forced to take the City to court to have its safe staffing honored. Attorney Leah Barrault represented Local 739 throughout the injunction process, with assistance from Patrick Bryant and law clerk Mark Macchi. Local 739 sought an injunction to force the Mayor to request adequate funding for the safe staffing language starting July 1.

The Judge granted the injunction and, moreover, agreed to monitor the progress of funding throughout the fiscal year.

If City Council agrees to the funding request, then Mayor Kennedy's budgeting by brownouts is expected to end.

Related Attorney: 
Leah M. Barrault
Related Attorney: 
Patrick N. Bryant