The FDNY announced yesterday it will slash staffing at scores of engine companies because of an increase in the number of sick days taken by firefighters and rising overtime expenses.
The reductions, which take effect today, shrink 49 engine companies from five-man units to four-man teams, and is expected to save the city an estimated $20 million annually in overtime costs, according to the FDNY.
"Increased medical leave is costing us more in overtime,," Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said.
A 1996 labor contract allows the FDNY commissioner to cut engine companies whenever the 12-month average of firefighters out on medical leave rises above 7.5 percent. The number hit 7.53 percent yesterday.
But Steve Cassidy, head of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, said Scoppetta's decision is "going to compromise the safety of the public."