Why were these staffing changes suggested?

Staffing changes were needed due to the uncontrolled overtime costs. Even with the changes to Webster Groves staffing, we are one of two municipalities in the entire St. Louis region that schedules staff at 12 per shift. The daily staffing of 12 per shift has not changed from the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement minimum staffing requirements. The factor that has changed is that now when 2 staff are absent, the Fire Department will operate with 10 on shift.  

Previously, the City did not have flexibility in staffing, resulting in paying overtime to “staff up” to 12 per shift. The new implementation retains NFPA best practices and in the event that 2 staff are absent, the City has the authority to keep the staffing level at 10 to address overtime spending.  

The Fire Department Fiscal Year overtime has been: 

  • Fiscal Year 2021 overtime budget was overspent by $62,757.90. 
  • Fiscal Year 2022 overtime budget was overspent by $324,581.95 (227% of budget).  
  • Fiscal Year 2023, overtime costs are on track to swell beyond the budgeted amount.  

The continued rampant overtime expenditures are unsustainable for the City.  The City values the Fire Department but must also be fiscally responsive to the needs of all Departments.

A bar chart showing the Fire Department Overtime for Fiscal Years 2012-2022

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1. When did the City Council declare an impasse on contract negotiations?
2. Why did the City Council declare an impasse on contract negotiations?
3. What does impasse mean?
4. What does this mean moving forward?
5. Why were these staffing changes suggested?
6. What are the staffing changes that were proposed in the contract?
7. How does this staffing structure compare to neighboring municipalities?
8. Will this impact the community's safety?
9. How does this affect our insurance rating?
10. What pay changes are included in the implemented compensation plan?
11. How does the Webster Groves Fire Department pay align with neighboring municipalities?
12. Is there a public safety hiring freeze within the City of Webster Groves?