When the council passed the city's budget last week, it left the Utica Fire Department with 123 members, 12 fewer bodies, and a change up of the command structure by the council.
Fire Union President, Robert Wenner, wasn't happy with this rearrangement, so he decided to bring a new structure to the table.
"When they did that, they basically took away a safe operating structure for the firefighters themselves when they're on the fire ground," said Wenner.
Wenner's concern of safety brought him face to face with the Common Council to see what restructuring could be done.
"Some of the plans they put together were very good. They kept the same number that the council had, 123 positions. Their structure was short some salary lines, and what we're going to do is reduce their salary line in the budget, and put it in contingency funds," said Councilman at Large, Frank Meola.
After planning with the council, Wenner was able to present a new command structure that he feels will help the fire department work around the 12 cut positions with a safe operating system.
"That will be four Deputy Chiefs, seven Captains, and 22 Lieutenants, restoring that safe fire ground that the firefighter needs," said Wenner.
With the Common Council doing the structuring, some wondered, why wasn't it left to the department in the first place?
"There's no Chief or Captian who would like to cut down their staffing. They were very opposed to any staff cuts to begin with, but we can only finance so much this year," said Meola.
But Wenner says he does understand that the budget was set and they had to work within the budget.