The union representing Alachua County Fire Rescue employees wants county commissioners to hire more supervisors to oversee firefighters.
James Clifford is the management unit representative for Local 3852 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. He said the number of district chiefs with direct supervision has not kept up with firefighter hiring.
“Compared to other county firefighting departments across the state, we are dead last. Not in the lower half, not in the lower third – dead last in the number of supervisors per station, per area served, and per personnel supervised,” Clifford told commissioners at a recent meeting where the budget was discussed.
Clifford said requests for more district chiefs have been denied the past three budget cycles.
Commission Chair Anna Prizzia said it is likely time to fund this year’s request for more supervisors.
“We know it’s a priority,” she said. “We need all the supervision we can get to ensure (firefighters) get all the training they need, that they have the oversight that they need, and that they feel supported in a way that they stay.”
Still, Prizzia said the commission would like to see more information on funding the positions.
Alachua County commissioners have scheduled budget hearings for September 12 and 26.