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Letter: Firefighter overtime is a smoke signal of trouble

Reader highlights the fact an interim city CAO pointed to increasing overtime costs with the city fire service eight years ago and Greater Sudbury still hasn’t dealt with the issue
typewriter pexels-min-an-1448709 (From Pexels by Min An)

There has been an increasing erosion of trust towards the Greater Sudbury Fire Services over the years. Controversy seems to be around every turn, but most recently the ballooning overtime is what has caused many to scratch their heads in disbelief.

Back in 2015, the former interim CAO, Bob Johnston, raised the alarm bells over the fire services 24-hour shift schedule, introduced in 2013, having a negative impact on sick leave and the associated costs in overtime.

While reviewing the 2022 Sunshine List’s top ten paid employees for the City of Greater Sudbury, it’s hard to ignore the five fire captains on that list, one of which raked in an unbelievable $304,000

A precursor to this information was when the city recently disclosed it had spent $2.28 million in firefighter overtime in 2022, which should cause one to think Bob Johnston was on to something back almost a decade ago.

In a article from March 9, Professional Firefighters Association president Mike Squarzolo said that the City of Greater Sudbury needs to review its staffing levels and the impact of increasing overtime on firefighters.

So let’s do just that! Everyone appears to be in mutual agreement. The citizens of this city along with the council would like to reign in the overtime spent on fire services. The professional firefighters association is concerned about staffing levels and the risk to its members. Let’

s do what’s best for everyone and not make this a political issue and make positive change.

Let’s not ignore smoke signals sent up by our former interim CAO. Please explore an alternative shift schedule. Twenty-four-hour shifts can be extremely fatiguing and they clearly aren’t to the benefit of anyone.

Guy Lamothe