Monday, Jul 25, 2016
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Police & Fire

Fire department re-raises minimum staffing level

After dropping minimum on shift to four, it's now back to five.

Perrysburg-City-fire-truck-pic-for-microsit

Perrysburg City fire truck pic for microsite . NOT BLADE PHOTO MICROSITE

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After lowering the minimum amount of firefighters to four on a shift at the city of Perrysburg fire department in June, the department went back Tuesday to its usual shift of five employees.

Perrysburg Firefighters International Association of Firefighters Local 3331 officials  said the shift back was because a firefighter came back after being on leave from an injury. Union members are not happy because they believe the five-person minimum won't last.

"They haven't gone back on their policy change they simply have more bodies now and less overtime," said Michelle Sullivan, the union's lawyer. "The union's perspective is when they have another injury the city will find itself back in the four-man minimum." 

The June shift in personnel occurred when the department was $14,000 above its budgeted overtime hours. The department's annual overtime budget is $390,622.

Perrysburg Fire Chief Jeff Klein said there were no issues over the past month with being short staffed.

"The fire department was over their overtime budget and has been for the last couple of years and needed to bring it down," council member Todd Grayson said. "We still had a very high level of service even when we were [short-staffed for] budgeting." 

Mr. Grayson said that the overtime budget has grown the past few years as well. He said the department is operated in such a way that there are always employees at the station, he said.

"The union is glad the five man minimum is back, but is concerned because the city has not indicated a change of heart," Ms. Sullivan said. "There is concern that the priority of the city is not on public safety by reducing to a four-man minimum." 

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

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