Site Map Icon
RSS Feed icon
December 14, 2017
Follow Us!
Facebook icon
IAFF Local Newswire
Join the Newswire!
Updated: Dec. 14 (16:00)

Sandy Hook 12-14
Josette Bradley Retirement Party
IAFF Local 21
Holiday Safety
IAFF Local 2760
Toy Drive 2017
IAFF Local 2760
Vice President Resigns
IAFF 1826
2018 Local 1826 Bi-Monthly Meeting Schedule
IAFF 1826
Weather Report
Contact Congress!
Enter Zip code:
Shift manning to decrease to 12 !
Updated On: Jan 26, 2013

W-B firefighter staffing to be cut

A union president blames the city and says overtime costs aren’t managed properly.

By Jen Marckini
Staff Writer

 WILKES-BARRE – The city has plans to cut the number of firefighters staffed due to a lack of overtime funds.

As of Friday, the fire department has expended 70 percent of the budgeted manning overtime allocation, according to a memo from Chief Jay Delaney to assistant fire chiefs.

No additional overtime funds will be allotted to the fire department and the minimum on duty staffing will be 12 firefighters, instead of 14.

Thomas Makar, president of Local 104 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said the fire department is understaffed and staffing is already at an unsafe level.

The city never hired and properly budgeted overtime funds, he said.

“Because of their inability to accurately do a budget they’re going to cut staff,” Makar said.

On top of that, 19 men have retired; two firefighters are on active military duty in Iraq. At least four are off on job-related injuries. The city currently has 75 firefighters, including the fire chief.

The city used to budget anywhere between $200,000 to $500,000 in overtime in the 1990s and early 2000s, Makar said.

Overtime in the budget was cut to $120,000 in 2004, and since then 19 men have retired and no corresponding increase in overtime allotment to cover their absence.

Makar said the firefighters union went to council in 2004 after the reduction in overtime because of cutting of manpower.

The department is down 19 firefighters from 2002.

“Never once did they increase the allotment for overtime,” he said.

Mayor Thomas M. Leighton could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

A fire protection study conducted by the city in 1995 recommended no fewer than 17 firefighters on duty. An international study recommends an even higher number, Makar said.

“The combination of both studies should prove that the minimum staffing level in Wilkes-Barre is unsafe,” he said.


A couple of corrections.

1.  We currently have only 70 Fire Fighters, including the Fire Chief.

2.  In 2004 we went to council to warn about the unsafe staffing level cause by the City's decision to reduce the level to 14.  We warned them also that if they do not hire men to replace Fire Fighters who retire then the overtime will increase.  They did not heed both warnings.

Link to the TL article:


Firefighters protest overtime cuts


WILKES-BARRE - Upset with understaffing and a recent decision to freeze further overtime allotment, members of the city fire department protested early Monday evening outside the South Station on High Street, calling for city hall to bolster their ranks or allot more money to pay firefighters to cover shifts.

"We want more guys. Obviously it's nice to get overtime every once in a while," said Mike Bilski, secretary of Local 104 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. "We need the guys on the scene to do the job."

Roughly 20 firefighters picketed in front of South Station in response to a decision announced Friday in a memo from Chief Jay Delaney to assistant chiefs notifying them that minimum on-duty staffing would be trimmed to 12 firefighters from 14, or five below the number recommended by the city's fire protection study.

Besides staffing, no additional overtime funds will be doled out this year. At this juncture, the city has spent 70 percent of the $100,000 budgeted for overtime hours, and the remaining money might be used up either next month or in May, Delaney said.

The impromptu protest came after Bilski and other department members called coworkers when they finished discussing an increase in money for overtime with city officials. An attempt to reach Delaney in response to the protest and the meeting was unsuccessful.

Jeff Berlew, a firefighter at South Station, said the city created its own predicament by not replacing departed firefighters.

"For the last three years, they budgeted the same amount of overtime," he said. "Obviously, when we have older people retire, and they don't replace them, then we're going to run into the trouble with overtime."

Since 2002, 19 fire department members have retired while money for overtime has remained stagnant, leaving the city reliant on calling in extra manpower at a higher cost, Bilski said.

Under the latest changes, the number of houses running engines may be also be pared to two. In the event there are only 12 firefighters on duty, South Station will only provide ambulance service, meaning stations on East Ross and North Washington streets will be left to pick up the slack.

That could mean longer response times in which precious minutes are lost, or it could put members of ambulance crews at risk if they try to conduct rescues without proper equipment or back up, said Mike Crawford, an emergency medical technician based at South Station.

"I hope it's nothing serious like someone gets hurt or we lose a life in the fire, but people have to realize we've been doing this job the past couple years with barely enough people," he said., 570-821-2110

 This is a result of one man, Makar. The deal the e-board and the City had would have guarnteed 14 men per shift for the next few years. However, because he would not personally have received as much as he thought he was entitled, the rest of us now suffer. Wake up firefighters, before it is too late.
Friend of Local 104 03/09/10 2:21
"Friend of Local 104"....When you finally are able to stand up straight to reach for the telephone because you grew a back me. I will set you straight on the facts. But that would mean you have guts too.
Tom M. 03/10/10 8:56

Member Login


Not registered yet?
Click Here to sign-up

Forgot Your Login?
<< December 2017 >>
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Upcoming Events
Union Meeting
Jan 09, 2018
Fire Headquarters
Regular Union Meeting
Jan 09, 2018
Wilkes-Barre Fire Headquarters 20-22 East Ross Street Wilkes-Barre, PA
Regular Union Meeting
Feb 13, 2018
Wilkes-Barre Fire Headquarters 20-22 East Ross Street Wilkes-Barre, PA
Union Meeting
Feb 13, 2018
Fire Headquarters
Union Meeting
Mar 13, 2018
Fire Headquarters

 RED:1 DS  3 NS  


BLUE:3 DS   1 NS


Important Links
Luzerne County 840
Upper Darby
Site Search
Site Map
RSS Feeds
City Fire Fighters Union
Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved.
Powered By UnionActive™

224989 hits since Nov 13, 2008

Top of Page image