City shuffles schedules at fire department to cut overtime costs

NORWICH – The City of Norwich Fire Department is looking at changes in its scheduling that would reduce the number of paid firemen on duty overnight.

“We’re going to have staff on duty 24/7. There just may be more on during the day when we have more calls for service,” said acting Fire Chief Joseph Angelino, who assured the changes will not have a negative effect on the safety of the public. “We’re trying to put people on when they are needed,” he said. “Statistically, days are our busiest time.”

During early budget talks, the Common Council said a tax rate increase of 38 percent was possible. According to Angelino, “of that 38 percent, about half was for fire department overtime.” Currently there are four paid firefighters on at all times. Changes to the schedule may change some 24-hour shifts into 12-hour shifts, making it possible to have fewer firefighters on at night.

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