Eastchester firefighter union, board of commissioners at odds over overtime budget
The Eastchester firefighter union and Board of Commissioners' disagreement on an overtime budget increase is causing tension.
News 12 is told the five-member board voted against increasing the overtime budget for firefighters.
In a letter to residents and business owners, the head of the professional firefighters union refers to the decision as potentially dangerous in the event of an emergency.
"The fire stations were put in strategic locations throughout the town to maximize response time. With a fire house in a neighborhood closed down, we're going to be delayed getting there,” says president of the union, Steven Ranellone.
According to Ranellone, the closing of the station at Midland Avenue and Palumbo Place in Bronxville poses reason for those who live nearby or own businesses to be concerned. The Bronxville station is being used as a voting place for a local election.
As of Tuesday evening, calls have been received by station No. 5 in Eastchester. With traffic, it takes about 12 minutes to drive between the two locations. Ranellone called it “a shell game right now."
Officials say three firefighters were called in to man all the apparatus Tuesday evening, and all firehouses are now open.
Bronxville and Eastchester residents weighed in on the decision. “This is a community that’s well-covered. It wouldn’t take long, even if it took a little longer, the response time isn’t going to be significantly different,” says Richard Morris, of Bronxville.
Ana Dimas believes the firefighters always do their best job, saying in part, “I leave it up to them to be able to work efficiently and do a good job."
Ranellone tells News 12 the department is planning protests, beginning on Sept.19 in front of the homes of three board members who voted “no.”
The commissioners will vote again on Sept. 25 to transfer money into the overtime budget.