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Posted on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Council members: Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township fire department merger should be considered

By Katrease Stafford

Some Ypsilanti City Council members believe that other options should be weighed instead of a plan that would possibly consolidate the police and fire departments into a single department of public safety.

Council Member Mike Bodary said he and others within the city have had conversations with Ypsilanti Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo regarding the possibility of combining the two fire departments.


Council Member Mike Bodary said the city should consider exploring the possibilty of combining fire services with Ypsilanti Township.

Jeffrey Smith |

"I had a discussion with Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo and I know some of you have too about the possibility of combining or merging fire departments," Bodary said to the other council members during a meeting Tuesday night.

"I think this is something that may not be complete and it may not be as much savings as we would hope for, but as long as the future council is looking at some restructuring, I think that’s something that can be considered also."

Bodary said he believes the combination could be worked out "without a lot of problems."

"We’ve investigated a police authority before, but I’m not sure it could ever fly," he said. "But fire is something that might work a lot better."

City Manager Ralph Lange said the city is looking at all of the options right now. Lange said if the majority of council were to agree that a different option were a better a choice than merging police and fire, it would "definitely change" the view of the city.


Susan Moeller said residents within her ward have concerns about a proposed merger of the police and fire department.

"The concept of merging organizations and doing collaboratives is highly regarded," Lange said. "Internal public safety or external mergers are highly sought."

Fire Chief Jon Ichesco has long pushed for the creation of an authority with neighboring townships. Ichesco previously told he thought a regional authority was the most advantageous direction to take the department.

Incoming Council Member Susan Moeller, who will be replacing Bodary in November, said she's received about two dozen emails from residents within her ward who are against the move to combine police and fire departments.

The proposal would cross-train police officers and firefighters to do both jobs.

"They didn’t understand why people who become firefighers would want to be police officers and vice versa," Moeller said. "They didn’t understand why the city would want to force employees who spent years preparing to be in one profession to do a totally different job. The example was given that you wouldn't want your dentist operating on your back even though the dentist might receive some training."

Moeller said she was glad to find out that the proposal has yet to be officially implemented because it will allow for more time to discuss the matter.

Moeller also is an Eastern Michigan University professor and she serves as the EMU faculty union president. Moeller said some individuals at EMU have expressed concern as well. The Ypsilanti fire department provides services for the university. Moeller said citizens have expressed they would like to have input in the process.

"I would hate for Ypsilanti to make this move without understanding all of the implications," Moeller said. "The citizens were also concerned that the move wouldn’t cut costs ... There are other issues that need to be addressed."

Ypsilanti resident Marla Gousseff shared her concerns during Tuesday's meeting about the Fire Department shift levels recently decreasing from five to four.

I personally was concerned about public safety and the loss ,the catasptropic loss to the individuals and the potential for not being able to really deal with a house on fire,"Gousseff said. "The burden of the loss of revenue should be shared by the general population... I would far rather have my garbage collected every other week instead of the property loss that a fire would do."

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Sun, Nov 4, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

It is not in the best interests of the Township. The City has nothing to offer except an inability to pay for its share of services. Now that they have reduced staffing levels in the city fire department, the mutual aid agreement should be scrapped immediately. The City is in serious trouble and they need to cut costs in non-essential areas and stop using police and fire reductions as the only possible way to save money. Make your council identify and eliminate the hidden sacred cows.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

I so don't think so. Keep it the way it is. We have the sheriff which is doing a lot better job then Ypsi police which have a hire tax base. Plus as for fire dept? No way. If one gets tied up? Who is going to come and rescue us? A fire dept from across town. I am voting no on this one.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

Moeller can keep her union job at EMU and her COUNCIL seat in the bankrupt city! I vote NO , why attempt to bankrupt a viable township ?

martini man

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

With the City of Ypsilanti's finances being a total disaster, I have a feeling such a "consolidation" would mean a new source of tax revenues for the City of Ypsilanti to waste. If the City of Ypsilanti is for it ..then a lot of us TWP folks will probably be against it . Mutual aid and assistance for emergencies as it now stands, is enough collaberation . As the tax base of the City continues to erode, they must explore new "creative"sources of revenue..and it appears they got their eye on the TWP.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

News flash: The Township's tax base has eroded and continues to erode, too.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

I'd rather see the city pay for fire services from the township instead of having the city and township fire departments merge.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

"Moeller also is an Eastern Michigan University professor and she serves as the EMU faculty union president. Moeller said some individuals at EMU have expressed concern as well. The Ypsilanti fire department provides services for the university." This woman has some incredible nerve to try to introduce what EMU employees want or don't want into this discussion. Can she really be that clueless? The fact that EMU is getting free fire and medical response from YFD, from a city that is seriously strapped for cash, is a major sore spot. If she wants to talk about EMU, she should start by outlining for us all what EMU is doing to urge/force the state to pay money it owes the city for fire services, and what she, personally, is planning to do on the council to make it happen. Otherwise, an organization that isn't paying for what it's already using can butt out.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 5:25 p.m.

Your RIGHT ....self serving union activist she is!


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

This is why UM has its own police force and the city comes and puts out UM fires. I so don't think so. EMU needs to be charged for each service it uses from the city or the township. Time to pony up to the table and pay us to bail you out.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

Your circular logic contributes nothing. If pigs had wings we'd call them eagles, but they don't, and we don't. The facts are that the state owes money to the city for fire protection that it has not paid in YEARS, and EMU is aware of this, yet does nothing. There's nothing mythical about it. I think it's comical that everyone who tries to make your argument makes the same mistake. Assuming that the infrastructure that was developed because the university was here would still have been developed if the university had never been here. Not a valid argument. It makes no sense to assume that university-dependent buidings/property owners, etc. would have been here in the first place if the university had never been here. For Moeller to bring up what EMU employees want or don't want shows an incredible lack of connection with her supposed constituents, who, by the way, are the city taxpayers, not EMU employees, who pay zero city taxes. Their lunch money is a great help to city restaurants, I'm sure, but the city was here before the university, and it would still be here if the university had not been located here way way way back when.

greg, too

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

I love this argument. It creates a mythical leviathan boogeyman who sucks the resources from the city, but conveniently leaves out the amount of money and people the university brings to the community. I would imagine a good deal of the higher property tax payers in this city would be gone without the university. Oh, and also leave out that their police patrol the neighborhoods around the campus, as well as assist in police calls. Please leave that out too. But please, continue to discuss their use of the roads and fire services....evil should ban them out to the township.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

I don't understand why the Township would want this deal. They are better off financially than the City and it would seem that a merger would be a drain on Township resources. There must be some kind of transfer of power with this.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

Your on the right track

greg, too

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

I would imagine, most people in the townships don't support this at all. But for some reason, the city keeps bringing it up with minimal discussions with the townships. It's almost as it they are trying to gain support for the idea, which most everyone doesn't like, before then trying to put the screws to the townships leaders. 20 years ago, they would have never brought this up. It is only because they are forecasted to be so badly in the red that they would ever ponder merging anything, schools or services, with the dreaded townships.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

They need to combine both departments and staff one, two man truck at the city's station. take the remaining staff and place them at the other stations throughout the new athority. That truck would respond to Emu runs, medicals inside the city and traffic crashes. Like always, if there is a fire in the city everyone else would come to help.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 11:27 a.m.

They need to quit dragging their feet and move forward with a consolidation accordingly. Also, I do not believe the council is capable of wringing out all available savings. Their minds do not work this way. They will need others to help them see the full savings that is available. For example - one boss vs. many bosses, etc. If they could prepare a list of all related personnel in both departments and make this public information, the public can give them a consolidated structure with positions that would work.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

A good idea, but Ypsi voters will never go for this. They have the belief that better days are in store for our city. All we have to do is wait it out. The problem is - the well is now dry. We are dying waiting for these better days. We need strong leadership to make the tough decisions.