WARREN, Mich. – The city of Warren is struggling to find firefighters, leading to enormous overtime for the ones still on the job.
City officials are working to address the issue before it creates a fiscal disaster.
As Michigan’s third largest city, Warren has six fire stations to help protect more than 40,000 residential housing units.
According to latest statistics, the Warren Fire Department respond to about 15,000 calls and between 3,000 to 4,000 fires a year. Last year, however, the department staff was affected due to COVID. To make the minimum staffing levels, overtime was offered starting with those with the most seniority.
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said only a few took the overtime, leading to three fire personnel making more than $200,000 each for the year and three more making more than $190,000.
“We’re a million dollars over budget in overtime, six months through the year. That’s not sustainable,” said Warren Councilman Patrick Green.
Michigan’s Capitol Confidential, which first reported the story, said two employees logged more than 2,000 hours of overtime and nine others surpassed 1,000 hours.
“If someone is making the money, that’s good they earned it, but when they’re putting in that many hours, we’re worried about their safety, we’re worried about the product delivery to the residents and we want the administration to hire people,” Green said.
The city is looking at financial incentives for training to attract new firefighters. Green said Warren has to ante-up more than neighboring cities.
“I hate to call it a numbers game but we need to be competitive,” Green said.
More: Macomb County news