Local Victim of Budget Cuts, Lands New Job

POUGHKEEPSIE – A City of Newburgh firefighter slated to be laid off on December 31 has found a new job with the Fairview Fire Department.

Levi Miles has been a professional firefighter with Newburgh since 2016 and has faced layoffs due to budget cuts on two separate occasions.

In July 2018, Miles was laid off from the job he loves. Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney’s office stepped in and funded the job under a SAFER grant. Miles was re-hired by Newburgh in January 2019. That funding was supposed to last for at least three years until Newburgh could resolve their budget woes. The budget in Newburgh turned into a crisis this year and has forced the layoffs of several police and firefighters, including Miles.

“I loved it there but with the layoffs going on right now, the job is unstable and I have a family to take care of,” said Miles. On Tuesday night, Miles, his wife Jennie, and their four young children were present at the Fairview Fire District Board of Commissioners meeting as the district leaders voted to hire Miles as a professional Fairview firefighter.

Chairman Andrew Calamari called the hiring “a perfect fit” prior to a unanimous vote to hire Miles. Commissioner James Doxsey, a 14-year veteran of the board offered some reassurance to Miles during the meeting. “You’re not joining a fire department – you’re joining a family,” he told the young firefighter. Doxsey also pointed out that during his time serving the district, they have never laid off a firefighter and he doesn’t see that happening in the future.

Newburgh Fire Chief Terry Ahlers weighed in on Newburgh’s loss, saying “I’m very happy for all of the support from the surrounding career fire departments who have reached out to us, offering to fill their vacancies with our firefighters who will be losing their jobs in the new year.”

Ahlers also sent a message to Fairview, saying “Thank you, Chief Maeder, for hiring firefighter Miles. I’m sure he will enjoy the stability of working for a progressive community.”

Chief Maeder called Miles “An awesome guy,” and added that he was “disappointed with the situation he found himself in over in Newburgh. We think he’s going to thrive here and we hope he never has to go through this again in his lifetime.”

The change in departments will move firefighter Miles from IAFF Local 589 to IAFF Local 2623.

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