Posts Tagged Decatur City Manager Ryan McCrady

Decatur FD to reduce staffing

News Channel 15 has an article which states that the Decatur FD will be reducing the number of firefighters:

The city of Decatur is reducing staff to avoid a budget deficit. The total projected budget shortfall is $1.6 million. A big part of the city’s plan to fill that shortfall is the elimination of 20 positions across the city, six of those being firefighters.

“We’ve eliminated 20 positions in the fiscal year 2014 budget,” said City Manager Ryan McCrady. “10 of those were individuals that were laid off, and 10 of those positions are vacant positions that are either currently vacant or will be vacant by the end of the year.”

All six of the fire positions fall into the latter group, with four of them currently open positions. “Two more firefighters have declared an intent to retire,” said McCrady. “So there won’t be any layoffs in the fire department. We just won’t fill  those six positions.”

That will mean one less engine company operating out of Fire Station Number 1, which basically means the one fire truck and its crew.

“The optimal solution is to have nine companies, but our resources don’t allow for that,” said Assistant City Manager Billy Tyus. “And the only time we anticipate there might be a questionable response, is if you have multiple events going on throughout the community.”

The department will go from nine total companies to eight. Over the last two years, they’ve been operating part of that time with only eight companies, in a process called brownouts. “What we know from the past from running browouts is that we can adequately cover the city,” said McCrady.

City officials believe that even in a rare situation of multiple complicated events, they can still adequately respond.

“We do have good mutual aid agreements with neighboring districts,” said  McCrady. “Since 911 there’s been something set up called MABAS, which is a mutual aid box alarm system.”

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Decatur to layoff 6 firefighters

The has an article about budget deficits in Decatur which will result in layoffs throughout several city departments, including the fire department.

City Manager Ryan McCrady said Friday that the city will cut 20 positions, including six firefighters, to close a $1.6 million gap in next year’s budget.

Twelve people are being laid off, and eight currently or soon-to-be vacant positions will be eliminated, McCrady said. The employees were notified this week, with the cuts to take effect near the end of the city’s fiscal year on Dec. 31.

All departments are likely to be affected, except for police, which typically does not spend its entire personnel budget, and water, which is funded separately by user fees, he said.

The deficit in McCrady’s budget proposal comes from a projection that revenues such as sales and food and beverage taxes will remain flat. Expenses continue to rise, including a 10 percent jump in pension costs.

In addition to the firefighters, the positions include two senior clerk typists, four clerk typists, a human relations officer, human resources training officer, plan examiner, plan development manager, senior long-range planner, a rehab construction specialist and two engineering technicians.

Four of the firefighter positions were vacant, McCrady said. The cuts will not result in closing any of the city’s seven fire stations, but they will mean more “brownout” procedures, when a fire engine is shut down. Instead of nine companies, the city will operate eight companies at a time, he said.

“If we had a situation where we had multiple fires going on at one time, there could be a higher response time to something, but it’s hard to say because you never know for sure what the situation is going to be,” McCrady said. “… I’m not saying it’s great to run eight companies. I’m not saying that’s optimum, but we do believe we can protect the city and operate in that way.”

At 490 employees, the city’s work force is already down from the 576 people it employed five years ago.

The city’s operating budget has taken more hits in recent years because of rising pension contributions. City council members have not wanted to raise property taxes to pay for the increases, though Mayor Mike McElroy recently said the city could not continue to cut forever.

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