During an Oroville City Council budget meeting, the Oroville fire chief Charles Hurley asked to be laid off in order to save the jobs of his battalion chief and an administrator position – two people who have been at the department for years.
"Rather than take those two people who have lived here and worked here their whole lives, than take me," Hurley said while addressing the city council Wednesday night.
Three scenarios had been proposed to trim money from the budget including laying off a battalion chief, making the police chief active head of the police and fire departments, and cutting the jobs of an additional administrator and three firefighters.
Only the third scenario proposed would effectively reduce the department's budget by the $400,000 requested.
"If laying me off and laying off the three fire engineers accomplishes what the city needs to accomplish," Hurley said, "I hate this analogy or I hate this cliché but, you know, I guess you gotta take one for the team."
Chief Hurley's request to be laid off could not be approved at the Wednesday night meeting because too many council members stormed out of the room following the announcement and the majority needed to approve the request was unavailable.
"There has to be some tough decisions," Hurley said, "and if this is what we need to do in the fire department to make it work, than that's what I have to do. You know, I'm a survivor, I will land on my feet. If this is what's best for the community, than that's what I need to do."
The council will meet again on July 1 to decide whether to approve Hurley's request.