The city plans to reopen the question of how many firefighters should be on duty each shift. However, the current 10-man minimum is expected to continue for the time being, Deputy Corporation Counsel Thomas M. DiMillo said.
A supplemental agreement between the city and the Lockport Professional Firefighters Association will expire Dec. 31 unless extended by the Common Council. Its terms call for at least 10 firefighters to be on duty each shift. DiMillo said the department is divided into four platoons: two with 12 firefighters and two with 13. Shifts last 10 to 14 hours each.
DiMillo said if fewer than 10 firefighters are present because of vacations, scheduled days off, or illness, firefighters from other platoons are called in and paid time-and-a-half for the entire shift. Some aldermen wanted to reduce the manning level to nine to save on overtime.
DiMillo said if the supplemental agreement was allowed to expire, the fire union, which has the right to binding arbitration, could use that to obtain extra money based on the claim that an increased workload for each member results from short-staffed shifts.