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“It’s a proverbial dumpster fire right now”: Gainesville fire union votes no confidence in Mayor, asks for resignation

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 10:07 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Gainesville Professional Firefighters, the union that represents the city’s fire crew has voted no confidence in the leadership of Mayor Lauren Poe and is asking for his termination.

In a press release on Monday, the group cited years of mismanagement stemming from years that Poe was on the city commission and his time as Mayor. Nick Gonzalez, the president of the union, says now with the city’s vaccine mandate on employees he worries of his co-workers and union members being fired for not receiving the shot.

RELATED STORY: A Gainesville firefighter group casts a vote of no confidence in Mayor Lauren Poe

“If we lose a significant portion of our workforce this place is not the same my safety is less without someone next to me to fill that spot on the truck,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez says that the city has not sat down with its workers to discuss the mandate before making a decision and that is where much of the frustration on the part of the union is coming from.

“We are a few days away from the start of progressive discipline. The city has still not answered the questions that we have, They have still not come to the table as they are required to by the state and U.S. constitution. They have to negotiate these changes, these changes are mandatory subjects of collective bargaining and the city to this day has refused to negotiate that decision,” said Gonzalez.

All in all, he said now was the time to speak up on matters more than just pertaining to fighting fires in the city.

“So for years there’s been a lot going on in the city and we have strictly stuck to firefighter issues, there’s been a lot of chaos in the last few months in the city level, city commission, city government level. It’s the preverbal dumpster fire right now.”

Mayor Lauren Poe responded with a statement submitted to TV20 stating: “My only reaction is that I was placed in office y votes of Gainesville and will continue to faithfully execute the duties of my office until my term has expired. I hold as my highest duty to protect the health and welfare of our entire community, especially our most vulnerable, neighbors. This sacred duty has never and will never change.”