Yonkers finally hires new class of firefighters after year-long political dispute

YONKERS (PIX11 News) – Arguably the 35 happiest men in the tri-state area strolled into the Yonkers library Friday afternoon to see their dream finally become a reality, albeit nearly five years after they started the process.

As PIX 11 News first exposed last summer the city’s Mayor, Mike Spano, held back federal dollars awarded to the city to hire the recruits. At the time, Yonkers was mired in 9% unemployment, higher than the national average and as the department desperately needed to fill more than 30 vacancies.

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The saga of these men to become firefighters began back in 2008.

Spano held the federal dollars over the head of the Yonkers firefighters union to force negotiations of a new contract. Mayor Spano even admitted to the political extortion la last June saying, “Everything is negotiable right now.”

Today,  Spano saved face and talked about his support of the Yonkers Fire Department during a swearing-in ceremony. The talk fell on def ears. Many in the audience smirked or chuckled, nonetheless Spano did pull the trigger on the hires.

However, the union told PIX 11 News that the delay in hiring the class cost taxpayers more than,$4 million in unnecessary additional overtime not factored into the budget.

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