Ken de la Bastide On Jul 11, 2017
The city of Anderson, IN, is looking to hire four new firefighters by the end of the year and several more in 2018 to cut down on mandatory overtime at its understaffed fire department.
July 11–ANDERSON, IN– The city of Anderson is looking to hire four new firefighters by the end of the year with an additional hiring in 2018.
Cody Leever, president of Anderson Fire Fighters Local 1262, asked members of the Anderson Board of Public Safety in June to look at hiring firefighters to eliminate mandatory overtime.
Leever said the Anderson Fire Department is budgeted for 112 firefighters, but is currently working with 105.
Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said Monday the exact number of firefighters has not been determined as administration officials look at finances and future attrition in the fire department.
“We’re looking at hiring in two phases,” Broderick said, “probably looking at hiring four in the first phase and more after the first of the year.”
During Monday’s meeting of the Board of Public Safety, Fire Chief Dave Cravens said the department is looking at manpower concerns but trying to be fiscally responsible.
“We’re committed to hiring,” Cravens said. “Right now we’re scheduling appointments with the PERF (pension) board and starting to determine if people are physically and mentally fit to serve.”
Leever said he was briefed before the Safety Board meeting by the administration, but hadn’t been told a number of firefighters to be hired.
“This is a step in the right direction,” he said. “Maybe we could have a meeting with the administration to plan for future staffing at the fire department.”
Cravens said there is a difference between the number of firefighters that are budgeted for and the actual numbers.
“Our run loads are extremely high,” he said. “We’re doing more with less. Every public safety entity has mandatory overtime.”
Cravens said the department has implemented policies to streamline the necessity for mandatory overtime.
During the administration of former Mayor Kevin Smith, the number of firefighters included in the fire department budget was reduced from 132 by closing some stations and assigning a fire apparatus with an ambulance.
The union and the Broderick administration reached a contract agreement earlier this year providing for a 3 percent pay increase in 2017, 2 percent in 2018 and 2019, and 3 percent in 2020.
The Anderson Police Department is also budgeted for 112 members; in March there were 105 working and two on military leave.
The department started the process to hire five new officers with testing to be completed this month. Once the five recruits are identified they will be required to attend the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and then spend 15 weeks with an APD training officer in the field.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.
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