By Elizabeth F. McNamara
Among other ideas, the town manager suggests returning to a volunteer fire service and/or contracting out EMS service.
East Greenwich, R.I. – Town Manager Gayle Corrigan will present her plan to restructure the fire department from the current four platoons to three at the Town Council meeting Monday (EGFD Restructuring Proposal 4/2018).
In a four-platoon system, firefighters typically work 10 hours on, 14 hours off, 10 hours on, 24 hours off, 14 hours on, 96 hours off.
Under Corrigan’s proposed three-platoon system, firefighters would work 24 hours on, 48 hours off. The plan calls for 30 firefighters – 8 plus 2 floaters per shift – down from the current 36 firefighters. She recommends laying off the extra 6 firefighters.
Corrigan recommends the Town Council adopt the reorganization but hold off implementation until after Superior Court Judge Susan McGuirl rules on the town’s pending lawsuit against the firefighters on whether or not it has the right to reorganize the platoons without consent of the union. The town and the firefighters are in the middle of a three-year contract, from 2016 to 2019.
In her proposal, Corrigan suggests other possible cost-saving measures if the court rules against it. Among those suggestions would be to decrease the number of firefighters on overnight, a time when the number of incidents is lower. Corrigan also suggests the possible return to a partial or largely volunteer fire service and subcontracting out EMS service.
Corrigan also says in her plan that the department needs a deputy chief – a position she has kept vacant since her arrival last June. She will recommend an interim deputy fire chief at the May 14 Town Council meeting.