Brown Outs to Fade Away This Spring

Mar 20, 2013

A new strategy in Lexington should eliminate ‘brown outs.’  To save money on staff, the city occasionally takes fire trucks out of service.  It now has plans to temporarily restore some overtime pay and hire new employees.  As a result, Assistant Fire Chief Harold Hoskins says they should have enough personnel to fully staff those trucks.  “By the time that second class graduates from recruit training in November, mid November, we’re hoping before Thanksgiving, then our staffing numbers should be up enough to where we’ll be able to staff all our companies without overtime.  So, between now and Thanksgiving we’re looking at overtime to fill the gaps,” said Hoskins.

 Hoskins says six months of overtime pay will cost Lexington about 640-thousand dollars.  Council Member Jennifer Mossotti calls the end of brown-outs a ‘milestone.’ “I don’t see it any other way to describe it.  I mean no more brown outs in Lexington.   That’s a home run,” added Mossotti.After November, Fire Chief Keith Jackson says there should be no need to pay overtime. “For us to provide the ultimate service for the citizens of this community and have every truck manned, the overtime will be necessary.  So, that is the best practice until we can get up to out authorized strength,” explained Jackson. Before next winter, the number of firefighters should stand at  557.  That’s above the department’s authorized strength and should provide enough employees to fully staff another, new ambulance.