NOTICE: Expansion of Selectman Josh Degen's Comments On Fire Department Staffing
Expansion of statements made by Selectmen Josh Degen, when addressing the Fire Department Staffing Update and the work of the committee that looked into the issues.
At the Jan 27, Board of Selectman's meeting, Selectman Josh Degen reported on the three meeting that were held recently to discuss Fire Department Staffing issues.
As a report out on the meetings, Degen advised that the consensus of the committee was to sit down with the Fire Chief and the Police Chief and to manage staffing levels in the best interest of public safety, and that if staffing changes are required he wanted the Town Manager to come back to the selectmen to discuss it.
Degen also said he wanted the Selectmen made aware any and all budget changes, whether an increase or a decrease, in key departments such as water, police, fire schools, and snow and ice, adding that this should be done in a public meeting. He said that this would provide the checks and balances for the town.
In referring to a statement made at the Jan. 13 Board of Selectman's meeting in which one member accused the Town Manager of jeopardizing public safety by limiting overtime, Degen was emphatic;
"We don't want the public to think that the people were put in harm's way intentionally by the town manager."
To clarify - the town has three union firefighters and one call firefighter (also called per diem) from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. If one of the union firefighters cannot, for whatever reason, fill the shift, it must be offered to another union firefighter and paid to that individual at time and a half. If there are no union firefighters available to fill the shift, only then is a call firefighter eligible to fill the shift and at their usual hourly rate, not time and a half.