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Firefighters Union Cites Staffing Cuts

September 29th, 2014 by WCBC Radio

Firefighters Local 1715 Union President Ken McKenzie Monday morning issued the following statement concerning the recently signed agreement with the City of Cumberland.

"Within a day of the signed contract copies being distributed the Chief of the Cumberland fire department sent an email to the supervisors advising them we would be cutting our minimum staffing to 12. During the negotiations we were told and several times by the Administrator and also publicly the mayor stated the city felt it should be up to the Fire chief to determine the safe staffing levels and removing our minimum manning section of the contract would not see immediate cuts to our departments staffing. Cutting us to 12 removes a full time second ambulance from being staffed 24/7. Staffing at 12 means that now fire apparatus will be stripped for 2nd and 3rd ambulance calls.

"With a demand for ambulance service totaling around 4700 calls a year this reduces the firefighting capability of the department and increases the risk to our remaining members while ambulances are out several times a day for hours at a time. The city informed us that "some day" they would like to look at making the department smaller if other options were in place to handle the calls but apparently someday is now and well before any options are in place to help with the call load. Citizens of cumberland should expect to see a reduction in the fire departments capabilities on a daily basis as our daily staffing numbers is permanently reduced,"

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