OAKDALE -- Dozens of firefighters' jobs are now on the line after the city of Oakdale and the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District decided to part ways.
Oakdale is now up against the clock as its five-year contract with the fire department will end June 30.
"City council, at its last meeting, decided to let them know officially that we would be moving in a different direction," said Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer.
Whitemyer said the "breakup" came after months of negotiations.
"Because of the length of time it took us to get to this point and the closeness of the expiration date, we didn’t want to be pigeonholed into a bad arrangement," he told FOX40.
Whitemyer explained that one of the issues is cost. The city wanted to hire more firefighters but he said the two agencies could not come to an agreement.
"The costs of those firefighters would be so high that we could not afford to add them," Whitemyer said.
Now, Battalion Chief Buck Condit says dozens of fire employees' jobs are on the line.
"Well, we’re gonna lose some personnel definitely because we provide the personnel to those stations," Condit said.
However, Whitemyer said the city intends to keep the fire stations fully staffed.
"We would hire Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District firemen or firefighters so that they would be able to fill those slots here in Oakdale," he explained.
Whitemyer added the city's goal is that families will remain protected, explaining city leaders may choose to work with another neighboring agency such as Oakdale, Modesto or Ceres.
If that doesn’t work out, they have a plan B.
"If we had to, we would form our own department," Whitemyer said. "It’s not our preferred option."
The battalion chief also said they will be working with the union to ensure firefighters will still have a job in two months.