…. And Blames the Firefighters
MAYOR GEOFFERY SZYMANSKI OF the small City of Lackawanna, New York, arbitrarily closed one of the town's three fire stations Thursday because he was upset with the overtime costs that are mounting in order to keep the equipment staffed. He immediately followed the lead of other failed city leaders by blaming the firefighters for the lack of enough people to keep the engines in service while claiming that the firefighters are engaged in "overtime and attendance abuse."
When everybody shows up for work, there are still
only three people on each piece of apparatus. (WGRZ-TV)
"We cannot continue to pay excessive overtime when they have some of the best jobs in Erie County," said Szymanski. "Now, granted, they are a great, professional fire force. They are professionals in firefighting and EMT. However, I have to not only look at their situation, I have to look at the taxpayers' situation."
The city usually schedules nine firefighters per shift to cover the three stations in the city. But from now on, the Mayor says, if two firefighters call in sick for that shift, he will close Station 2 on Abbott Road in the city's southern district instead of calling in off-duty firefighters.
The spokesman for the firefighters' union points out that the city is undermanned because open positions due to retirements are not being filled and that there are some members who are on injury leave yet are being blamed for "calling in sick."
WIVB-TV interviewed the mayor in this video report:
Still following the practice of other similar cities, the mayor says the citizens are still safe because they have a mutual aid pact with Buffalo to fill in their shorthanded responses.
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