(WMC-TV) - The City of Memphis wants to cut down on overtime after spending $101 million over the course of five years. There were several proposals discussed Tuesday to cut down on the overtime, including decommissioning fire trucks.
Both Memphis Police Department and Memphis Fire Department directors say their divisions are at the brink. If anything more is cut, they will both have big concerns.
Fire Director Alvin Benson gave council members the worst case scenario of what it would take to cut overtime.
"The only way to stop the overtime from increasing is to reduce the number of equipment on the street," said Benson, who added that decommissioning two fire vehicles could cause unreasonable risk. "How few is too few? That's the conversation we're having now. I think we already reached that point."
Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong told the council he is already dealing with staffing issues following hiring and promotion freezes.
"We're understaffed at the rank of sergeant and to do that we have to pull patrolmen from the street and we have to pay them 5 percent out of rank pay," explained Armstrong, who said he is functioning at minimal staffing levels and more cuts could hurt public safety.
"There is a line that I'll draw. The mayor is aware of that, the CAO is fully aware of that, and before this is a said and done, the council will know too," he added.
Both directors said more staff cuts would trigger even more overtime. When extra workers are not on staff to back up people on leave, the city has to call in workers on overtime. They get paid time and a half.
The city is scheduled to present their budget to the council in April.
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