Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, No Phone Number Available
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 at 9:22 a.m.
Mayor David Condon and Spokane Fire Chief Bobby Williams announced a new proposed hiring plan for the Spokane Fire Department that's designed to keep staffing in the department consistent and strong.
Under the new firefighter hire-ahead program proposal, the City is working to get 22 new recruits in training by the end of September and have them available for service in early 2016. The goal of the hire-ahead program is to train new employees before others leave for retirement or other reasons, keeping the number of uniformed firefighters steady.
The program still needs budget approval from the City Council; the Council is scheduled to consider the item at its 6 p.m. meeting on Monday, Aug. 24. The City implemented a similar program in the Spokane Police Department last year.
“Replacing employees who leave is difficult for the continuity of any business and is especially challenging in public safety where resources can be stretched on any given day,” says Mayor Condon. “Retirements and other employee departures are inevitable. Consistently feeding a pipeline of new firefighters is part of building the safest city of our size.”
The Mayor noted that the program requires an upfront investment for training new employees before others have left the Fire Department. But, the investment is off-set by long-term savings in overtime. When staffing levels drop, the department has to use employees on overtime to cover shifts.
This investment in the fire and emergency medical services is possible because of the commitment the City's employees have made to deliver the best services possible at an affordable cost. Maintaining consisting fire staffing levels helps us achieve that mission.