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Mayor Fulop & Public Safety Director Shea Announce Restructuring of Fire Department

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JERSEY CITY, Oct. 16 -- Mayor Steven M. Fulop and Public Safety Director James Shea announced today that the administration is restructuring the Jersey City Fire Department into three battalions – a measure that will place more firefighters on duty, provide better services for residents, and significantly reduce overtime costs within the department.

 

“Our goal is to significantly cut overtime while also adding more companies weekly to increase fire protection,” said Mayor Fulop. “We are reorganizing the command structure to redeploy personnel to enhance public safety, increase efficiency and reduce costs. Jersey City residents can expect our administration to implement policies that put them first.” 

Already this year, the Fire Department has used all of its budgeted overtime funds, roughly $2.6 million, due to inefficient staffing, particularly at the captain rank. The new administration set out to immediately correct this issue and anticipates costs savings of between $750,000 and $1 million as a result of the restructuring. 

The organizational structure of four battalions was established when the department was at 32 companies before Healy cut that number to 22 companies that rotate daily.  A restructuring of the department should have been conducted at that time, but was never initiated. 

“The union will not like these changes,” said Mayor Fulop.  “We understand that, but our focus is the safety of our residents and the impact on the taxpayers.  We are committed to increasing public safety for all of our residents and having city government work as efficiently as possible.” 

The reorganization will result in additional fire captains being available on all four of the department’s tours, reducing the need for overtime at the captain rank.  Additionally, four battalion chiefs will now serve as safety officers – a position previously staffed at the captain rank – enhancing firefighter safety.  

“The City has been paying far too much in overtime costs for the Fire Department – the majority of which has been a result of inefficient staffing,” said Director Shea.  “This measure will allow us to reassign fire captains thereby eliminating much of the overtime and increasing the safety of our residents.  The upgrade of the position of safety officer will also enhance the safety of our firefighters.” – Press Office, City of Jersey City

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