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Rochester mayor, firefighter union president clash over dynamic staffing

July 11, 2019 08:00 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — An impasse between City Hall and the Rochester firefighter's union continues. As of July 1, 2019, one city firehouse goes dark every night. Firefighters at nearby stations answer the calls. 

"Okay, I'll just leave this here with you," said Mayor Lovely Warren to the president of Rochester Firefighters Association IAFF Local 1071. "It basically says that I am prepared to end dynamic staffing tonight."

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However, during a news conference held by the association Thursday afternoon, the mayor stunned everyone in the room when she stood up and addressed Eddie Santiago, the president of the association, while he was at the podium answering reporter’s questions.

She laid out a proposal that she thinks would end the need for dynamic staffing and addressed some of the union's concerns.

"I'm saying if it's about safety, then join with me," Warren said. "Let's end this today. Let's do what we can today ... to make sure that dynamic staffing, as you say a safety issue, is dealt with today."

The mayor's proposal would include using money from the firefighter's Two Percent Fund to purchase equipment. This is money that the state gives to firefighters from fees you pay on your insurance. The mayor also proposed putting four firefighters, who now drive the fire trucks, back on active duty and training members of the fire department's Protectives Unit to drive instead.

Santiago wasn't moved by the mayor's offer. 

"The funds are there Mayor Warren," Santiago said. "You can take this [your proposal] with you. It's rejected."

Santiago told the mayor it was her job, not the union's job, to provide public safety. He said it would not be possible to use funds from the Two Percent Fund. 

"This is the court order on the settlement from the two percent," Santiago said reading from a document. "Here it says it was a one-time-thing. Again, these proposals are unacceptable, they're unethical, they're bargaining in bad faith."

Credits

Lynette Adams

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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