The city will lose 25 personnel from the and 10 from the as a result of budget constraints, Mayor Daryl Finizio announced this evening.
The layoff notices will be issued on June 1. Finizio said the decision was made in consultation with the , Fire Chief Ron Samul, Police Chief Margaret Ackley, and Chief Administrative Officer Jane Glover.
“Public safety is the highest priority for the city administration,” Finizio said. “These cuts are draconian and particularly difficult, but under current budget levels, and current contractual obligations, they are sadly unavoidable.”
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Finizio requested $12,280,651 for the police department and $8,834,931 for the fire department. The Finance Committee , respectively, and the departments were also included in an additional two percent cut across the board.
“It is unfortunate that balancing the budget requires this drastic action,” Samul said in a statement. “We have looked for reductions in every area where savings could be found. We simply ran out of other options.”
Five vacant positions in the fire department will remain unfilled. Samul said that by laying off 25 firefighters, the city is saving the cost of their benefits. He said the staffing level of 18 firefighters per shift will remain unchanged, and estimated that the cuts will double the workload of most of the remaining firefighters.
“By laying them off, what we have to do is hire overtime to replace them for each shift they normally work,” said Samul.
Samul said that due to the firefighters’ union contract—which stipulates that layoffs will start with the most recent hires—the cuts will include Alfred Mayo, the first black firefighter recruit hired by the department since 1978. Mayo was terminated from the department prior to his graduation from the Connecticut Fire Academy but, following appeals by the NAACP and an , Finzio .
The police department is maintaining 11 vacant positions.
“These additional staffing reductions are particularly painful, but the police department will do all we can under current fiscal levels to provide the city with the public safety services required,” said Ackley.
During the budget discussions, Finizio recommended negotiations with the firefighters’ union and the potential closing of one of the city’s three fire stations to realize savings in the 2013 fiscal year. He said Glover will head a team that will negotiate with both the police and fire unions to minimize the impact of the cuts in this fiscal year.
As part of the budget cuts, the has . The mayor’s office has .