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Abstract: A long-term decline in the city's number of fires, coupled with a long-term increase in calls for emergency medical services, seems to call for Norfolk, Virginia budget officials to take obvious steps: cut back the number of firefighters and increase the number of paramedics. In this political management case, however, the complexity of the situation quickly becomes clear. City residents fear any cut in the number of firefighters, a fear which firefighters themselves are willing to exploit. Merging the two departments threatens the morale of each.
Learning Objective: This is a government operations case with strong political management overtones which emerge through discussion of the strategies available to the city's assistant city manager, on whom the case is focused. Funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.