Watertown's Heavy Rescue Truck Sidelined In Fire Staffing Disput

Watertown's Heavy Rescue Truck Sidelined In Fire Staffing Dispute

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The union representing Watertown city firefighters is filing paperwork against the city after officials said they would violate the union's contract.

The department was given a directive Wednesday to break its minimum staffing rule when a firefighter calls in sick.

City officials knew they was violating the contract and were prepared to go to court over it.

The City Manager Sharon Addison and Mayor Joe Butler say it was necessary to cut down overtime spending.

Because of the directive, the department is taking its heavy rescue truck off the road, unless it's absolutely necessary.

The rescue truck carries equipment like the "jaws of life."

"The deputy chief and I are going over a list of equipment that in the short term will be necessary for the engines to have," Fire Chief Dale Herman said. "Because, again, they will be first on-scene for a motor vehicle accident and the rescue truck will either be delayed or potentially not available."

Herman says there will be a learning curve for the new staffing model and doesn't know if the change will be a short or long term.

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