The Wauwatosa Fire Department needs to manage its sick leave and vacation time better. If it did so, eliminating three firefighter positions would not have to shut down any of the vehicles, City Administrator James Archambo told the Budget Committee on Thursday.
The Fire Department was looking for three positions that had been placed into rolling vacancies to be reinstated as part of the 2011 budget. If that didn't happen, a backup ambulance would be shut down in the northwest portion of the city, Fire Chief Dean Redman said.
That would require a longer response time from other areas of city or aid from a neighboring municipality if an emergency call came in and the first ambulance was already on a call, he said.
Archambo denied those claims saying "there are enough resources to staff our operations." Each shift is staffed with 32 firefighters to ensure that after sick and vacation time off is accounted for, the daily staffing comes out to be 26 firefighters. Therefore, the department should be considering the cuts to take daily staffing from 32 to 31 people not 26 to 25, the city administrator explained in an interview after the meeting.
Better managing sick leave, which has been almost five people, or 15 percent of the daily work force, for the past three months would go a long way to filling those vacancies. In addition, vacation could be more spread out so fewer firefighters are off at the same time.
"Make sure using sick leave as its intended," Archambo said.
The majority of the Budget Committee agreed with the city administrator and denied adding back positions on a vote of 6-1. The Fire Department funding makes up a portion of the proposed 2011 budget that must still go before the Common Council. A public hearing has been set for 7 p.m. Nov. 9.
For more on this story, check out this week's Wauwatosa NOW.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Wauwatosa Senior Meals: Week of Dec. 7
- Business Spotlight: Face time is the best time for photographer Stephanie Bartz
- Business Notes: Nov. 26
- Wauwatosa unveils convenient, affordable water online water bill payment options
- Wauwatosa Things to Do: Nov. 26
- Wauwatosa girl scouts help feed the hungry this Thanksgiving
- Ask Now: Why the fancy drain at Hart Park? (2)
- In Brief: Nov. 26
- Wauwatosa library announces campaign to give students study space
- In our schools