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Police, fire union chiefs ‘nervous,’ on edge over Dayton failure to pass 2023 budget

DAYTON — “Everybody’s nervous” about what might happen next if the Dayton City Commission can’t find enough votes to pass its 2023 budget, Dayton Firefighters Union Local 136 President Kraig Robinson said.

Kyle Thomas, president, Dayton Fraternal Order of Police, said, “you know, honestly, right now, we’re just kind of sitting on the edge of our seat.”

>> Police, fire service in question as Dayton City Commission fails to pass 2023 budget

The angst from Robinson and Thomas could worsen if the city commission doesn’t approve the city manager’s recommended 2023 operating budget. Failure to do so, according to state law, means the city will have to shut down on Jan. 1 if no budget is in place. That means no city services, including at Dayton International Airport.

“This is the first time in history that this has ever happened in Dayton,” Robinson said. “It’s unprecedented.”

Robinson said his union has been in touch with its labor attorney to figure out how to move forward if there is no new budget.

“Should it not be resolved, I believe our firefighters, there will be people staffing apparatus in the city. It might not be the regulars, but there will be people to show up to work to do what’s right,” he said.

Thomas said he doesn’t know whether other police agencies would assist Dayton. He also said he doesn’t know what Dayton police officers would do.

“We are very used to getting up in the morning and turning on the water and the services being there to pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 and an ambulance showing up, or calling police and then they come. So all of a sudden not to have all of those things that you expect every day. . . . "

The prospect is scary for Dayton residents as well as the men and women who provide those services, Thomas said.

“For a lot of these people who’ve dedicated their service to the community, some of them have been doing it twenty-five or thirty years and then all of a sudden them not getting a paycheck or health insurance,” Thomas said. “That’s a big deal, a really big deal.”

But Robinson and Thomas said they are confident the budget crisis will be resolved within days.

News Center 7′s Brandon Lewis went to the homes of the two commissioners who abstained from voting on the 2023 city budget -- Darryl Fairchild and Shenise Turner-Sloss. People who answered their doors said they were not home.

>> Dayton city commissioners release statement after abstaining from budget vote

News Center 7 Anchor James Brown spoke with Fairchild by phone and challenged the commissioner to explain what he meant when he said he would vote for an operating budget that the city manager proposes that “reflects the community’s priorities.”

Fairchild said the process should not be played out in the media and declined to answer if he is ready to change his mind and vote to approve the budget.

Fairchild and Turner-Sloss have called a news conference for Friday. News Center 7 will be there.