Will city reduce Fire Department staffing?

Now that Measure H has passed, the fire union says brace for staffing cut proposals as the two sides head into new contract negotiations. Reductions were proposed and supported (and later abandoned) earlier this year, they point out, and an outside report recommends it.

Here’s what some city leaders have to say about the staffing issue:

City Manager Bob Deis: “I wouldn’t say staffing is a priority over anything else. We just think there are opportunities for efficiencies, and I don’t want to at this early stage start laying them out, because I need to get council direction” on priorities. … “Measure H did not direct us to negotiate a certain package or to reduce staff. The only thing Measure H did was eliminate a third party from making a decision for us. We don’t see it as a mandate to do anything other than, we do have this fiscal emergency, and we’ve got to deal with that.”

Councilwoman Susan Eggman: “I think this just gives us another tool to say, ‘How do we manage the money we have?’ And we still live in a collective bargaining environment, and that doesn’t change. Both sides have more equality at the bargaining table.”

Vice Mayor Kathy Miller: “This council has never said it is wanting to do anything but support public safety efforts in this community. What we have said is we need to have the flexibility to prioritize where our most pressing public safety needs are and direct resources (toward them.) We will be working with both of our (fire and police) chiefs to help us properly staff and support those departments so that the public gets the most safety we can get from our reduced resources. It was never about us against the Fire Department.” … On reducing fire staffing: “I think it’s something that we will definitely look at. It’s not the only operation change that is in that (ICMA) report.”

Councilman Dale Fritchen: Asked if the council would go after fire staffing: “I think everything is on the table. … It has not been our number one priority.” He said the city will not make any decision that will jeopardize public safety and that if the union agrees to enough concessions, perhaps layoffs can be averted. On the ICMA report: “We do have to address what it says in the report. It says we’re too rich in staffing. … We need to address and talk about it.”

This entry was posted in Budget crisis, City Council, City Hall, City Manager Bob Deis, Dale Fritchen, Elections, Fire Department, Kathy Miller, Labor, Stockton Professional Firefighters Local 456, Susan Eggman and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

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