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Discussions on Dearborn, Melvindale Fire Department Partnership Progressing

Expect to hear news on the possible consolidation by the end of the month.

A decision could come as early as the end of 2012 as to whether or not the City of Dearborn’s Fire Department will partner with Melvindale.

Fire Chief Joseph Murray this week told Dearborn City Council that the merger is being decided upon alongside union contract negotiations, which are expected to tie up within the next week as members of the Firefighters Local 412 take their contract to a vote.

“We’ve been talking with unions for the last few weeks to see where they’re at with it and come up with mutually beneficial agreements,” Murray told Patch.

The plan, originally presented in September, would result in a presentation to City Council that will detail what the process would entail, and how the result would or would not benefit both cities in terms of coverage and cost.

Dearborn currently employs 121 firefighters; Melvindale has 15. However, both departments are already prepared to come to each other’s assistance in an informal mutual aid agreement. That partnership benefitted Dearborn as recently as Dec. 4, when Melvindale paramedics assisted with a traffic accident in east Dearborn during a time period when all of Dearborn’s resources were preoccupied.

This consolidation between Dearborn and Melvindale would solidify those partnerships, as well as allow both cities to hopefully engage in cost-saving measures—such as the ordering of supplies and equipment.

Council members have expressed concern that the partnership would negatively adjust the quality of fire services in Dearborn, but Murray has assured that maintaining the department’s reputation is crucial.

After Dearborn firefighters vote on the plan, talks will go back to Melvindale.

It’s expected that a full plan for the partnership—should both departments agree to move forward—will begin to be developed by the end of the year, Murray said.

“There are a lot of factors that go into this, but I think we’re getting closer to knowing if it’s something that’s going to happen,” Murray said. “We expect to have a better idea by the end of the year.”

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