Wage and benefits reopen negotations 743 currently on the books. 728 is Act 47 requirement. Salary requirements. Two classes of recruits are needed. 200 are eligible to retire by end of year. 93 are expected to retire. Premium pay is going to decrease.
Health care benefits Vacation is an issue. Almost all have 5 weeks. Act 47 changes to 4 weeks.
150 vacancies with call backs. 4 new apparatus, Just bid a new pumper. 13 thermal image cameras by end of the year.
Headed to arbitration for the 3rd week of December.
- Firefighters hiring article in the Trib from March, 2006
- Andy Sheehan (KDKA) September 2007
PITTSBURGH Pittsburgh Fire Bureau budget cuts are coming at a time when fire deaths in the city are unusually high.
KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan has more information on how those cuts could be hurting public safety and what is being done in the city to decrease the number of deaths due to fires.
According to statistics, although the number has declined in recent years, since 1990, the city has averaged close to eight fire deaths each year. That's about 40-percent higher than the national average.
The investigation showed that fires in vacant and abandoned buildings often spread to other buildings, and Pittsburgh has more multiple alarm fires than other cities and less and less money to combat them.
At the same time, the investigation also showed that the city has less money to demolish those buildings and fewer enforcement officers and building inspectors to cite their owners. Meanwhile, the city also closed fire stations and scaled back the bureau's Fire Prevention Unit to prevent fires before they start.
Sheehan reports that he has learned a new study of the Fire Bureau will recommend a coordinated effort by a number of city departments to cite and demolish problem buildings, and at the same time restore the city's fire prevention efforts.
Chief Michael Huss says he will not discuss that study until it's released, but says the city's already pursuing a coordinated multi-department approach, and Union President Joe King says he agrees that it's time.
"If you had the resources, the inspectors, the public education, maybe we can make an important impact on the safety of everyone," says King.
But King says he will not support a reorganization plan that takes resources from fire suppression, the firefighters in the station house who put out the fires.
This fire study is being funding by the City Financial Oversight Committee.
It will lay out a comprehensive plan to deal with the problems that are unique to Pittsburgh and other aging northeastern cities.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl had agreed to talk with me about these problems facing the city and the Fire Bureau, but now says he will wait until this report is released in the near future.