Yonkers Mayor Spano Proposes Controlled Sick Leave as Potential Plan to Avoid Yonkers Fire Department Layoffs for 2012-2013 Budget

eHezi Archives 48 Comments

Spano_MikeOutdoor Yonkers Fire Local 628YONKERS, NY – May 31, 2012 — Mayor Mike Spano today announced a plan to avoid layoffs of Fire Department personnel in the new budget, while reducing overtime costs by nearly $6 million a year. Spano said the proposal will rely on controlling sick leave abuse in the Fire Department, which has grown to excessive proportions and is costing the taxpayers millions of dollars a year in overtime costs.

Mayor Spano said in some weeks as much as 25% of the fire department’s personnel call in sick, and that routinely an average more than 20% of department personnel are calling in sick during any given week.

“As we began auditing sick leave in the Fire Department we were amazed at what we found,” said Mayor Spano. “A business that had this many employees routinely calling in sick would soon go bankrupt. Well, the taxpayers can’t afford it either.”

“I’ve always said Yonkers has the best fire department in the country, but we have to be realistic to what our taxpayers can afford, and balance it with adequate public safety. I believe this proposal addresses that.”

Mayor Spano is proposing that the City assign 54 firefighters to a shift, as is current practice to staff the City’s 18 fire companies. Replacements will be called in if less than 48 fire personnel show up for work.  Currently the City calls in replacements, at time and a half, to maintain a minimum of 54.

Mayor Spano added he will ask the City’s new Inspector General to update its 2010 analysis of sick time usage in the Fire Department, as a first step in controlling abuse.

“By controlling unjustified sick leave, we can minimize the need to bring in replacements at time and a half,” said Mayor Spano. “The savings should be nearly $6 million yearly.”

“This plan protects public safety, is fair to the taxpayer, and is fair to firefighters,” added Mayor Spano. “Either we get costs under control in this budget, or the City faces an unsustainable financial future.”

What is referred to by some firefighters as the ‘Holy Grail’ noted Mayor Spano, “The Fire Department’s contract is one of the most generous in the nation in salary, requires among the lowest number of working hours of any department,  and even grants a week’s extra salary for reporting to work ten minutes early.  But it’s also leading to an unjustified number of fire personnel calling in sick each shift due to the unlimited sick leave provision.  That’s unfair, unjustified, and has to stop.”

Mayor Spano said among the measures being considered are closer monitoring of sick leave use, preventing abusers from working “mutual” shifts or holding second jobs, and enforcing regulations that prevent those on sick leave from leaving their home.  

SOURCE: Press Release…Christina Gilmartin, Communications Director, Office of the Mayor


eHeziYonkers Mayor Spano Proposes Controlled Sick Leave as Potential Plan to Avoid Yonkers Fire Department Layoffs for 2012-2013 Budget

Comments 48

  1. I seen some real winners when I worked on Wall Street. While we are bickering over public employees, wall street is looting our hard earned money!! Wake up people, you are on the wrong blog, you should be attacking wall street hucksters who could care less where they have to live cuz theyve got plenty of your money!

  2. The reason the city is broke is because of the school system. I wouldnt send my dog to yonkers public schools. Dont blame the city’s budget problems on the fire dept. Just another politician giving all the money to the schools so everyone else has to suffer. Wake up..

  3. It’s not about doing more with less – it’s about being effective & efficient. Mike’s HR people should know that! Stop looking at the money; look for the effective. Mike needs a GOOD business mind in City Hall.

  4. Interesting concept ,i wonder how that would work.Yonkers residents probably pay 7 times the homeowners tax than the city homeowners and the commercial properties in Yonkers probably pay a twentieth of what businesses in the city do. I think Bloomberg would balk at the concept.

  5. Whatever was rebuilt was built with new engineering, sprinklers, fire resistive construction…so yes…it is alot different
    Some of the fire companies in NYC/ Bronx are slower than the slowest ones in Yonkers…GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT

  6. Sell the city of Yonkers to the City of New York for one dollar, and you will have more than enough police, fire, sanitation, and schools, and taxes wont go up.

  7. I believe the plan is for Empress to be the first responders,not the YPD. in the event that there is a possibility that a crime may have been committed in relation to the medical issue then the YPD will be called as well.That is the current practice now. This is not the same as the YFD being dispatched first in all medical runs as is the current policy for them.

  8. I bet the DD and the Police supervisors are all for it. The guys on patrol, who do all the work…..not so much.
    Officer, I gots a pain in my virginia!….ha ha ha!

  9. The YPD is taking over medical calls?……ha ha ha. Have fun suckers!
    Once you get a good dose of them, you’ll want to run Olsen off the job.
    Maybe we can fit those new police cars with snow plows while we’re at it……saps!

  10. Stop blowing smoke out of your ass-most of the South Bronx was burnt out during the late 70’s and early 80’s and now has been virtually rebuilt-so it is you who has your facts misconstrued.

  11. BEWARE .if you are WHITE not of hispanic be ready to get shit beat out of you by the 3rd pct COPS in southwest side of town.Also good luck if YOU call them to show up they might be there in 3 hours then treat you like a piece of shit for calling them for help.

  12. This whole thing sounds like a scare tactic by the mayor to get givebacks from the unions without having to negotiate a contract. Seems to be working. What did the police give up to avoid layoffs? What did DPW give up? Guess yhe unions might have to wait 5 years before they start negotiating.

  13. Are you serious ? The South Bronx has been burnt down for the past 20 years..if you are going to spew facts..get some real ones and not BS..not scare tactics..FACT..Im sure the guys will real gung ho to help everyone when their workforce has been cut by 10 percent OOOHHHKAAY Mc Fly….so word to the wise..get a good fire exit/escape plan for yourself and family

  14. Tighten up..sound a little jealous own another bar in the area ? or just a jealous wannabe that could not get on the FD if he was given the answers to the test
    the guys that frequent Nugents are some of the best FF you could ever come across…little crazy..but you would rather have them trying to save you with the guts they have than some teatotallers

  15. Scare tactics are you serious> all the fireman do in this city is surround and drown> there are firehouses in the south bronx that have more fires than the whole city combined.

  16. Let them close FH’s then people will die….plain and simple..hopefully noy someone anyone on here cares about..because the FD will not be able to do the same job, with the inadequate manpower guys will NOT risk their lives when they dont have the adequate staffing for a structure fire

  17. Mayor Mike,
    The Rockland County Exec. announced that
    he is taking a 6% reduction in his salary.
    How about you doing the same to show that
    you will lead by example? Ask the Unions
    to do the same.

  18. You are stereotyping firefighters that last existed well over 40 years ago. Firefighters drink the same as any other worker. Are you saying that only firefighters drink in Nugent’s? As for booze in the firehouse that went away a long time ago. Come up with some real facts next time you want to make an argument.

  19. They are employees like the many other Yonkers employees, and are not required to live in the city. Would be nice if employees lived in the city, but not a requirement. As mayor or deputy mayor, like city council members, it should be a requirement, No ?

  20. I would hate to be with you in a situation where the shit hits the fan because you are the type person who would give everyone else up.

  21. If they really want to tighten the screws on the fire department, start with piss tests. You would lose all of the nugents crew with that.
    Next, no booze in the fire houses…. God Forbid right guys ……

  22. Amicone or spencer brokered that deal!!! every employee has a vested interest even the firefighters. they think because they dont live here we have to pay high salaries. too bad for the fireman they couldnt compromise like the Police Olsen is smort the fire leaders are greedy Remember GREED KILLS the Tax Payer….. Game Over Fireman

  23. Correct. There are Yonkers employees that live outside the city, but they are employees and do not hold a policy making position that effects all Yonkers residents. Mayor Gerry holds a policy making position, and without being a resident does not hold a vested interest in the city or its residents. She does not have to live with the consequences of her actions.

  24. Some so-called brown out.The yfd currently has 30 openings.There will not be a day for the next 5 to 6 months where their will be adequate staffing.These firehouses will be CLOSED,not browned out.

  25. How is that considered in any way shape or form a response to what I wrote? Please don’t attach your ignorant ramblings to my post unless you’re making comments that are relative to it. However since you brought up CT perhaps we should talk about Stew Leobard’s. Resides in CT, makes millions in Yonkers, yet is exempt from paying taxes on the property that it occupies. How is that good for Yonkers?

  26. where yorkers? most fireman are much further than sue gerry we should see where all yonkers employeees are living> i heard alot of fireman live in Conn. Dopes

  27. Politician’s LIE and then
    they LIE some more.
    Show me an honest politician
    and I will show you a unicorn,
    they don’t exist!

  28. Maybe Sue Gerry should work a shift with the firefighters of engine 306 or a ride along with the officers of the 3rd pct. Then she could actually meet some of Yonkers’ citizens and witness the services that the FD and PD provide, before suggesting cuts. Easy to make cuts when you don’t live in the city you govern………Let them eat cake!

  29. The fact that the Mayor thinks the citizens of Yorkers are dumb enough to believe that the Fire Dept is bankrupting the city with sick leave abuse is insulting to our intelligence. The FD is one of the few if not the only agency that operates within the budget. Sick leave abusers do exist in every Dept within the city. On the FD they are few and far between. It is irresponsible to demonize the Fire Dept for the immoral actions taken by a handful of people who may or may not work for the FD.
    The city’s financial state is a direct result of bad deals made by the prior administration. They were not made in the best interest of Yonkers tax payers. It is unbelievable to me that with all that Yonkers has gained in the last 10 or so years that the tax burden still falls on the average working class citizen. It is shameful to continue to cut essential services under the guise of financial hardship. The only people who are hurting are the average citizens who’s services are being cut while their taxes are going up yet again. It’s time to revisit the contracts of the multi million dollar companies who come to Yonkers, and don’t pay their fair share. Those are the contracts that should be renegociated and not those of city workers who dedicate their lives to serving our city.

  30. The fire dept. is alotted 12 sick days per year. We average about 8 or 9. How is that abuse. How many sick days does city hall workers and officials get? From my understanding they can carry over there sick time. We cant and we are still not using our sick time. Gerry is Cuomos girl, Mike is just a pawn. When you responded on calls with us a few years back you spoke about the upmost respect that you had for us especially when there happened to be a fire while you were riding with us and you couldnt believe that we were runnuing in and everyone else was running out. I dont even think you made it in the building right Mike? Dissappointed!!!

  31. Knew he had no balls. This is another joke out of the Amicone handbook. You see we’ll never balance the budget unless he reduces the payroll, which he’s obviously not willing to do.
    How about appointing an independent doctor to verify those who are told to go sick, even when they are not, after a fire?
    Inspector general where are you?????????????

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