Firefighters Upset About Continued Brownout Policy, Despite Impending New Hires

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Plans in the mayor’s new budget to hire more firefighters won’t bring an end to the controversial practice called ‘brownouts’ — temporary closures of fire stations. And the firefighters’ union is seeing red.

The brownouts were instituted by the Nutter Administration, ostensibly to reduce fire department overtime. But Nutter’s new budget includes funding for between 80 and 160 new firefighters, and that will reduce overtime costs by about $2 million.

But Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says overtime will remain high even with the new hires, so the brownouts will continue:

“If we don’t do that, we’ll lose another $4 million. We’ll still have overtime from injuries, people who are sick, vacations.”

The firefighters’ union remains vocal in its stance that the brownouts affect public safety.

“The fact that he’s insisting on maintaining this brownout policy does not sit well with us. There’s a simple fact that brownouts endanger lives, and we are going to keep up the fight to end them,” says union spokesman Frank Keel.

The new hiring is expected to begin this summer.

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  • Tray

    Amazing that our politicians are more worried a about spending $20 million to fix up Love park than they are about putting more police and fire on the streets and catching the violent criminals that are plaguing our city! They want to attract tourists to the city and I get it, but who the heck would want to come here with the criime rate being what it is. If I didn’t live here, this would be the last place I’d visit.

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