Hiring of Manchester fire deputy contested
Just two weeks ago, aldermen lifted a hiring freeze and said department heads could manage their hires without going through the mayor. But aldermen also approved the reclassification of one of six district chiefs, dropping the pay grade for the head of the Fire Prevention Bureau from district chief to fire marshal.
Gatsas said he’d like to see Corbeil’s job remain vacant while elected officials consider restructuring the fire department.
“Look at the number of captains, lieutenants and district chiefs,” Gatsas said. “You’ll see its an incredibly high ratio of supervisors to actual firefighters.”
Of the approximately 201 uniformed positions in the fire department, 134 are line firefighters, another three are fire investigators.
Burkush said the titles are deceiving because captains and lieutenants, who staff fire stations and equipment, work alongside line firefighters.
District chiefs, which he equates to captains in the police department, have overall command of a fire scene and can handle emergency management situations and training, Burkush said.
Burkush said he has restructured his department. There are now 46 firefighters on duty at any one time, compared to 51 in 2008. Over the past 10 years, the number of district chiefs fell from nine to five, he said.
“Every city department has gone through so many cuts,” Burkush said, “that we all understand we have to do things efficiently.”