Despite a chanting crowd calling for his resignation, Corner Brook Mayor Neville Greeley is standing by controversial job cuts in the city's firefighting service — and with how he delivered them.
"At the end of the day, the city has made a decision that is in the best interests of the citizens of Corner Brook, and the City of Corner Brook long term, and I make no apologies for that," Greeley told CBC News.
He was responding to Monday night's protest against the elimination of four unionized firefighting positions.
Demonstrators also denounced the fact that Greeley told firefighters of the cuts just moments after they signed a new three-year contract with the city.
While at least one councillor expressed sympathy with demonstrators over how the cuts were announced, Greeley said he was following the will of council.
"The understanding coming out of the actual meeting that we had, from my perspective, was that it was going to be done immediately," Greeley said.
"Immediate to me means immediate, and I guess other people have a different definition of immediate," he said.
Greeley said the four positions will be cut through attrition, and none of the remaining firefighters will lose their jobs.
The mayor continues to insist, meanwhile, that public safety will not be affected, even though there are four fewer posts in the fire service.
Greeley said he is unfazed by persistent calls for him to quit, and noted that many of those who attended the rally on Monday night had come from other communities.
"I take that with a grain of salt," he said.
The rallies against Greeley and the city council are not finished. Organizers are planning another one for next week.