CITY HALL — Following in the footsteps of Chicago Police, the Fire Department has agreed to move civilians into positions currently filled by firefighters at an estimated saving of more than $1 million a year.
Inspector General Joe Ferguson stated in his quarterly report released Monday that the Fire Department was squandering $4.5 million a year in overtime by having firefighters fill 35 positions that "did not require firefighter or paramedic training and experience." Ferguson estimated the city could save $1.2 million a year by "civilianizing" 34 of those positions, returning firefighters to active duty, and eliminating the other.
According to Ferguson, the Fire Department has agreed on 32 of those posts, but defended two others and the one to be eliminated.
Ferguson previously discovered 300 positions in the Police Department three years ago that could be filled by civilians, an idea immediately embraced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as he moved to put more officers on the street.
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