Spano Proposes Controling Sick Leave in Fire Department
June 6, 2012
Around Town By Neal Tepel
Mayor Mike Spano of Yonkers has announced a plan to avoid layoffs of Fire Department personnel in the new budget, while reducing overtime costs by nearly $6 million a year. Spano said the proposal will rely on controlling sick leave abuse in the Fire Department, which he claims has grown to excessive proportions. Mayor Spano said in some weeks as much as 25% of the fire department's personnel call in sick.
"As we began auditing sick leave in the Fire Department we were amazed at what we found," said Mayor Spano. "A business that had this many employees routinely calling in sick would soon go bankrupt. Well, the taxpayers can't afford it either.
"I've always said Yonkers has the best fire department in the country, but we have to be realistic to what our taxpayers can afford, and balance it with adequate public safety. I believe this proposal addresses that."
Mayor Spano added he will ask the City's new Inspector General to update its 2010 analysis of sick time usage in the Fire Department, as a first step in controlling abuse.
"By controlling unjustified sick leave, we can minimize the need to bring in replacements at time and a half," said Mayor Spano. "The savings should be nearly $6 million yearly."
"This plan protects public safety, is fair to the taxpayer, and is fair to firefighters," added Mayor Spano. "Either we get costs under control in this budget, or the City faces an unsustainable financial future."