PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Mayor Michael Nutter’s new budget includes extra cash for Fire Department overtime. However, that does not mean he is changing his policy of rolling, temporary closures of fire stations.
So-called temporary ‘brownouts’ of fire stations began last year in order to trim firefighter overtime. Now though, Nutter’s new budget includes an increase to the fire department OT of about $2.6 million.
Does this mean the brownouts will be reduced?
“The overtime would be significantly worse if not for the brownouts,” said Budget Director Rebecca Rhynhart. “The brownouts are saving the city a significant amount of money.”
Rhynhart says the real solution is to hire more full-time firefighters, but plans for that are delayed by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling which forces changes in the admissions exams.
The firefighters union says the brownouts have lengthened response times and impacted safety.
Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio