Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is under fire after a letter he sent to city employees regarding benefits through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was made public on social media Monday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for everyone, including the management team, here and elsewhere,” the letter from Montz dated Monday, March 30, reads.
Montz said in the letter that when we think of emergency responders, “fire and police are naturally the individuals we think of first in this regard. However, under applicable law, emergency responders also include public health personnel, 911 operators, public works personnel and other skilled personnel necessary to the continuing operations of government.”
According to the Tiffin Firefighters Local 322 union, Montz and the City of Tiffin government are using a “loophole to avoid giving you the extra coronavirus benefits provided by the US Gov’t.”
“They can also claim that every city employee is a ’emergency responder…” a post from the union states.
“The Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which becomes effective on April 1, 2020, provides an expanded definition to the Family Medical Leave Act, adding amendments expanding the reasons for the use of Family Medical Leave. However, under section 3105 of the act, employers are permitted to exclude emergency responders from the application of the provisions of the FFCRA.
“For the reasons cited above, all city employees are considered emergency responders and essential to the continuing operations of city services. For this reason, they are also subject to the exclusion provisions of the FFCRA as emergency responders and not eligible for emergency leave or additional sick leave under the FFCRA,” Montz wrote in the letter.
According to Montz, the city will continue to process applications for leave under the existing provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act, but because of the exclusions for “emergency responders” in the law, the city “will not approve requests for emergency leave or sick leave under the Family and Medical Leave Expansion or the Paid Sick Leave provisions of the FFCRA.”
“I was wondering why so many Tiffin firefighters left for other municipalities. With an employer who takes advantage like that, who wouldn’t look elsewhere,” Facebook user Jim Atchison said.
“Wow, way to show the people that are risking their lives how much they really mean to you… nice!. Put all of the politicians that back this on the front lines and see how quickly that shit changes,” Brandon James said in a comment.
Tiffin Firefighters Local 322 encouraged Tiffin residents to contact their city councilman or the mayor directly to voice your opinion.
“The act does clearly state that this can be held from first responders or healthcare workers. The real tragedy is the other city employees who are being deemed ’emergency responders’ and not receiving the benefits provided to them by the US Government. NOT ONE CITY EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN DEEMED NON-ESSENTIAL, and everyone one of them is an ’emergency responder.’,” the union said in a Facebook post.