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Nutter Wants Increased Fire Dept. Budget But Would Keep ‘Brownouts’

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Nutter Administration told City Council members Tuesday that the controversial policy of temporary closures of fire stations is not going to change, even with an increase in the Fire Department budget.

The mayor proposes increasing the Fire Department budget by more than $2.5-million for additional overtime, but at a hearing, council members wanted to know if this meant at least a reduction in the use of so-called temporary ‘brownouts’ of fire stations — which began last year in order to trim firefighter overtime.

The answer that Councilman Frank Rizzo got from the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Clarence Armbrister, was no.

“So we don’t anticipate any change at all, not even lessen it?” Rizzo asked.

“No because it would just increase the overtime expenses,” Armbrister told him and he said the overtime expenses and the rolling closures would continue until a new Fire Academy class is hired.

That has been held up by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling which forces changes in the admissions exams.

Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio

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