Mayor will ignore Syracuse council's recommendation to prevent firefighter staffing cuts
Four months of protests by Syracuse firefighters did not go unnoticed. The crowd, which included children of firefighters holding signs in support, erupted in applause after Syracuse common councilors voted unanimously to amend the proposed budget to add $1.6 million to keep firefighter staffing at its current level.
Councilman Bob Dougherty says it was a tough decision to make during a fiscal crisis.
"I've really been swayed by the impassioned pleas of the fireman that have represented themselves before us," says Dougherty.
Mayor Stephanie Miner planned to reduce the number of city firefighters on duty from 69 to 65 per shift, but councilors like Lance Denno pushed back.
"These proposed cuts cross the line to an unacceptable level of risk," says Denno.
Vice President of Local 280, Paul Motando, shook the hand of each council member after the meeting.
"We feel cautiously optimistic. It's so important to the city to provide the coverage," says Motando.
However, their celebrations wouldn't last long. Minutes after the meeting ended, the mayor said she plans to ignore the council's recommendation.
"The city of Syracuse simply can not afford to have that much overtime when we are in a financial crisis," says Miner.
The mayor will allow the budget to go into effect, but refuses to spend the money on the overtime positions.
"City councilors are a part time position and having a part time position when you have a city in fiscal crisis is a luxury. I'm the mayor 24 hours a day 7 days a week and I deal with the fiscal crisis every single day," says Miner.
Councilors did not appropriate money for Fire Station No. 7, which Miner plans to close as part of the consolidation
when the budget takes effect on July 1.