More Staff Reductions for Sacramento's Fire Department?

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sacramento already shuts down one engine company at a time for 48 hours.  Last week, the city council rejected a proposal to double those “rolling brownouts” though the end of June.
But today, at his weekly press conference, the mayor did not reject a longstanding suggestion from Councilwoman Bonnie Pannell that the department reduce its staffing from four fire fighters per engine to three.
Johnson: “We have to look at everything.  So whether it be four fire fighters or three, the most critical thing that we need going forward is really, labor to be willing to make some concessions.  And we as a city need to make sure that we’re doing real long-term budget planning.” 
A spokesman for the fire fighters’ union, Chris Harvey, called the staff reduction “completely unrealistic.”  He says every big city west of the Mississippi has at least four fire fighters per company except Fresno – and departments that assign three fire fighters to a company are in outlying or suburban areas.