Keeping San Francisco Firefighters Costs SFFD Disaster Preparedness Funds

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – There will be no cuts in fire protection in San Francisco this year despite the city’s budget problems, but the fire chief said this also means there won’t be any money to respond to unexpected emergencies.

Chief Joanne Hayes-White said she has done everything she possibly can to balance her budget, even agreeing to slash another $700,000 in overtime and premium pay as recommended by the supervisors’ budget analyst.

”If there was to be any kind of catastrophe such as a natural disaster or an act of terrorism, this would not be covered in our budget,” said Hayes-White. “There is exactly zero in there as far as padding.”

The fire department is able to avoid layoffs, brownouts or fire house closures, but isn’t left with any wiggle room.

”I remain concerned about it, but understanding the economic times,” said Hayes-White. “Everyone has to make some concessions.”

Although firefighters will still get their scheduled pay raises this year, they’ve agreed to increase their retirement contributions as part of a new labor contract. It’s an agreement that, if ratified, will keep staffing levels in tact.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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