Berlin Fire Dept. Budget Slashed Following Allegations | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Berlin Fire Dept. Budget Slashed Following Allegations

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On the Eastern Shore in Maryland, the mayor and council in the little town of Berlin are taking heat after cutting $650,000 from the fire department budget.

Allegations surfaced last February from members of the fire and EMS departments in Berlin about internal discrimination and harassment concerning sexual orientation and race.

"These allegations didn't happen in just a very brief period of time, but as the investigation shows, went back numerous months, and in some cases years," says Berlin Mayor Gee Williams.

Williams says the department's refusal to address the allegations or properly handle the situation led to the decision to pull the money, but he says he's confident that it could be returned if "proper human decency is restored."

However, Williams says residents of Berlin should not worry about public safety as the $650,000 only accounts for a portion of the department's overall budget, and he promises that services will not be affected.

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