SAN JOSE (KCBS) — A proposal by a San Jose city councilman to freeze firefighter hiring until the firefighter union accepts a reduced pension benefit has sent shock waves though the fire department and drawn the ire of its outgoing chief.
Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio’s proposed the hiring freeze in a memorandum to the city council.
San Jose Fire Department Chief William McDonald said they already have one of the lowest staffing ratios for cities of San Jose’s size.
“The average in those top 25 population cities is over one firefighter per thousand. We have .65 firefighters per thousand. We have right around one million in population and we have 678 firefighters and so we are well below the average,” he said.
Any hiring freeze would severely cripple the department, McDonald said.