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Budget Talk: Fire Dept. Personnel

Proposal for additional fire fighters denied by BET

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Greenwich, CT | Added on April 10, 2015 At 10:00 PM

The Greenwich Board of Estimate of Taxation has approved a $411 million municipal budget for the upcoming fiscal year. But the BET did not approve the Town's request for additional fire personnel, something First Selectman Peter Tesei says is disheartening. 

"There's a total of six stations in Town. Presently, two of them have more than two fore fighters stationed there. This proposal would have equalized the staffing to three personnel," said Tesei. 

"Four is really the level we would like to get to," said Robert Kick. 

Asst. Fire Chief Robert Kick says he has worked his way up through the ranks on a  two person apparatus and knows the difficulties of this situation. 

"It's hard for them to arrive to a scene at a fire and wait for sufficient personnel before they can act. It's not in their blood, it's not in their training," said Kick. 

But BET chairman Michael Mason says the board has questions about the Town's request. He says the board wants to see career and volunteer firefighters working together, and wants a clear plan of action for staffing. 

"Nobody is trying to frustrate anybody. We are trying to find out where do we want to go? What's the end result? How do we want to handle this?," said Mason. 

But Tesei says the Town has had a clear plan since the early 2000s. 

"Sadly, I think we've only made progress in some cases, when something bad happens," said Tesei. 

Part of this path is the additional of a fire station in the Northwest corner of Town. 

"Response times up in that quadrent are 10, 12 minutes," said Kick. 

But, this was not put in the budget for the upcoming year. 

"The fact is, we are not going to negotiate acquisition of property through the budget," said Tesei. 

"We are going to continue a quarterly dialogue with the fire dept. Before you commit on a program that could increase budget by a percent, percent and a half, you need to be ready for it," said Mason. 

Only three of the 12 members of the BET motioned to approve the proposal for additional personnel.


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