GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)-- The Green Bay firefighters union is at odds with the Mayor over staffing reductions, this comes days after the Fire Chief resigns.
Fire Chief Robert Goplin resigned last Monday, taking a lower position in the department. The department said it was due to a personal matter not related to a health issue.
Michael Nieft has been appointed interim fire chief. Nieft and Mayor Jim Schmitt worked out changes to help cut-back on overtime late last week and changes that have the firefighters union upset.
The changes included reducing the fire departments minimum staff from 42 to 38.
No jobs have been cut, but it has meant the department won't have the staff to cover Engine One on most days. Engine one is the only truck at Fire Station One in Downtown Green Bay.
The union called a press conference Monday to air their grievances with the Mayor over the staffing reductions, and closure of engine one. Union President Chad Bronkhorst said the changes will mean a longer response time for services.
"It's going to take us longer to get there, anytime it takes you longer to get there and anytime it takes you longer to get to a response, there is an impact to your safety," said Bronkhorst.
The union wants the city to figure out a way to staff the engine all the time, either through hiring new staff or overtime. But Mayor Schmitt said the need isn't there and that the cuts have to be made.
"We wouldn't do this if it put anything in jeopardy," said Schmitt, "it's a change, but, like the chief said, it's a manageable change and it's what we are going to do."
The staffing reductions came after Mayor Schmitt called on all city departments to reduce overtime costs.
The mayor said the area where engine one serves is also covered by stations two and three and response times will not be cut.
"We have 22 police officer working on the road right now, and we have 38 fire fighters, police do 88,000 calls a year, fire does 10,000," said Schmitt, "from a management stand point there are some opportunities with the fire department."
Alderman David Boyce also spoke at the press conference, defending the fire fighters union's stance. He believes other members of the city council feel the same way, and plans to bring the issue up at Tuesday's City Council meeting.