Ogdensburg continues to mull fire department staffing

Ogdensburg Fire Department staffing
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:39 AM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - Discussions continued Monday night in Ogdensburg over adding more firefighters.

City comptroller Andrea Gray presented councillors with a 10-year staffing analysis.

It says the city could save more than $200,000 in one year by hiring four more firefighters, bringing the department up to 21.

The analysis says adding a total of eight firefighters would be ideal.

Fire Chief Ken Stull says he’d be content with four hires. He says he just needs more manpower, and it would be more cost-effective for city taxpayers.

“My first priority is to ensure the safety of the fireman below me,” he said. “I will make sure they are as safe as possible whether you give me two guys or 50 guys. My next responsibility is to run this department the most financially efficient way possible.”

“You can’t look at an increase costs in a department without looking at somewhere where revenues are going to raise.” the comptroller, Gray, said. “Economic development is an initiative of every council of the city of Ogdensburg, it is imperative that we work towards economic development.”

In an unexpected move that happened later in the meeting, a motion was made to allow for a vote to hire more firefighters. It was voted down 6 to 1 and can be brought back up in another meeting.

Councillor Bill Dillabaugh was the only “yes” vote.

The mayor and councillors John Rishe and Steve Fisher questioned where the money to pay extra firefighters would come from.

Councillors Mike Powers, Nichole Kennedy, and Dan Skamperle said the city needs to add the firefighters to ensure safety.