Watertown City Manager To Recommend Reinstating Fire Captains

Watertown City Manager To Recommend Reinstating Fire Captains

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Watertown's city manager wants to reinstate four fire captains who were demoted three years ago.

City manager Rick Finn is proposing that the former captains be reinstated as of April 1.

They were among eight captains who were demoted for the city's 2016-2017 budget as a way to save money.

Four of the eight have already been promoted to their old ranks because of retirements over the past six months.

A resolution to reinstate the remaining four is on the agenda for Monday night's city council meeting.

Finn says in a memo accompanying the resolution he's been reviewing the fire department's command structure over the past few months.

He also says he's been reading reports from several studies of the fire department over the past 10 years.

Finn says he plans to make "a series of recommendations aimed at making significant improvements in our Fire Department."

The promotions would cost the city over $13,000 for the last three months of the city's current fiscal year.

The city and the firefighters' union have been in a long-running dispute since the captains were demoted.

Last summer, an arbitrator sided with the union, saying that the city owed $75,000 of back pay to firefighters who'd been temporarily promoted to captains while out on calls.

The union and the city were back in court recently. The city wanted the court to overrule the arbitrator.

The city's firefighters have been without a contract since 2014. 

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