Tonight Utica's Common Council didn't add or eliminate any firefighters but it did approve a plan that allows fire chief brooks to structure his department in (what he calls) A safer manner. The city came to an agreement with the fire department to offer an early retirement incentive of $15,000. Now as Chief Brooks says the work will begin. "We have a lot of work to do a lot of restructuring, unfortunately I've got 20, over 20 of our most senior people leaving and these are the people I would turn to assist me in restructuring"
The Council rendered an eight to one vote tonight, the only nay came from Councilmen Frank Vescera, but ultimately the organization goes back to the experts. "It puts it back in the hands of the fire department where it should've been all along. The fire department has not restructured their department to work best with what we've given them in terms of rank and positions."
The restructuring increases the number of fire captains from the original council structure. "These are the people that put on their boots when the bell rings, they respond to fires and these captains are the first one in. They bring the younger firefighters in with them, they keep them safe. Just a major component of fire suppression, they do both supervision and suppression." It's important to remember even though the council approved the restructuring the fire union still as to ratify the agreement.