DETROIT (WWJ) – The financially challenged City of Detroit paid out $85 million in overtime this year, with the police and fire departments taking up nearly half of the cost.
WWJ Newsradio 950’s Florence Walton reports on the sobering conversation between the city’s Executive Fire Commissioner and City Council on ways to curb out of control overtime cost.
“Given the severe challenges the city has we need to begin a discussion about what fire protection and fire safety looks like; we can do a strong public education — smoke detectors in the home, being fire safe in the home,” said Detroit Executive Fire Commissioner Don Austin.
Austin wanted know if he would have City Council support if he decides to brown out 17 fire stations.
“Response times are going to increase, and your phones are going to start ringing – am I going to have the support of council? So we are talking about 59 down to 42,” said Austin.
A brownout would mean a station would close one day and open the next so on any given day Detroit would have 42 operating fire stations down from 59.
City Council says more discussion is needed before they can move forward.