, Derry, New Hampshire


January 2, 2014

Londonderry fire overtime costs still an issue

Chief tells council he needs $200K


But Councilor Tom Freda said fire department overtime costs have been an issue for many years and it’s not always easy to find the money to make the problem go away.

In March, O’Brien told councilors that about 70 percent of the fire department’s budget had already been used, with more than 90 percent in overtime costs.

Voters in town approved a measure in the firefighters’ contract in 2008 to bring the work week down to 42 hours per week from 48. That could be part of the continuing overtime issue, Councilor Tom Dolan said.

Dolan said he was hired to be a policymaker and it’s up to voters to decide how to help fund the fire department when budget season rolls around every year.

He also said it might be best to address staffing and hours served through the collective bargaining process, not through operating budget talks.

Budget Committee member Chris Melcher said he hopes to somehow find a solution.

“I’d like to figure out a way to make this work, but I’m not sure what that is,” he said.

Council Chairman John Farrell said he didn’t know where the town would find the fire department’s request for the $204,000 it says it needs to fund overtime costs for next year.

“I don’t have it,” Farrell said. “Tell me where I’m going to get it.”

Budget discussions continue Jan. 20 in Moose Hill Council Chambers at the town offices.

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