Why are Nanaimo taxpayers about to get burned when it comes to Nanaimo fire services?
To keep within their budget of $12 million, the Nanaimo Fire Department is recommending a decrease to the number of people available. This means a 2-person fire engine or maybe even a 1-person fire engine. This is not good for firefighters nor the public.
According to Councillor Greves at the April 22nd Council Meeting, it would be like going back to 1980 staffing levels when the population of Nanaimo was approximately 18,000.
How can the fire department maintain safe levels of staffing in order to respond to emergencies? According to Councillor Greves, the standard is to have a 4-person fire engine.
It appears the problem lies with their salaries. There are 25 professional firefighters in Nanaimo who earn over $100,000 a year. Almost 53% of the total Nanaimo Fire Department staff earn more than $75,000 per year.
The current starting salary for an Operations Firefighter in Toronto is $52,756. Why are so many firefighters in Nanaimo paid more than $75,000?
The chart below shows City of Nanaimo salaries divided between city operations and the fire department.
City of Nanaimo Salaries
|TOTAL / # Employees||93 / 700||91 / 172||184 / 872|
The Nanaimo Fire Department report proposes to cut at the bottom and bring on more “pay per call” firefighters when needed. Other cost cutting ideas could include limiting the amount of oxygen available.
How does Nanaimo get a grip on these staffing costs? At what point have the scales tipped too far for senior management?
29% of the City of Nanaimo’s overall workforce and 51% of its managers will be eligible to retire with an unreduced pension by 2016.