Ottumwa Fire Department adjust to less firefighters on the crew

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 12:39 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) -The Ottumwa Fire Department is adjusting to its new staffing levels.

As of Wednesday, July 1st, the department has five less firefighters.

Their positions were eliminated due to budget cuts.

The city council voted on those cuts back in mid-March.

Fire Chief Tony Miller says even though the decision was out of his hands, but it didn’t make the conversation with those men any easier.

“It was hard talking to the guys that I’ve grown to know over the last couple of years and stuff they’ve done and how they’ve supported the fire department and they were shining stars at our department. I mean young guys always look at things a little different and I hate to see them go cause they made our department better while they were with us with their skills. That’s why other fire departments around the state are wanting to hire them.”

He says this change will not affect the department’s ability to protect the community.

“We’re still going to be a 26 person department, we’re going to run the medical calls like we’ve always ran. We are going to have structure fires and each fire we respond to we’re adding two counties for our haz mat (hazardous materials) coverage so we are going to go from nine counties to eleven counties beginning tomorrow and we’ll still take care of people.”

We reached out to City Administrator Philip Rath who had this to say moving forward. In a statement provide to KYOUTV News he says “I am optimistic that Chief Miller, the other department heads, and I will be able to work together to identify alternative solutions to maintain the current level of service in a safe and efficient manner.”

Miller adds one of their firefighters has already accepted a new position at a fire department in West Des Moines and he’s trying to find jobs for thre others if they want to remain firefighters.

This department wasn’t the only one impacted by the budget cuts.

This is a list provided by the city of other cuts or changes made to city jobs.

Non Union Employees: No Salary increase

Police Position #1 - Vacant Position Not Filling

Position #2 - Vacant Position Not Filling

Fire Retirement Position - Not Filling

Position #1 - Eliminating

Position #2 - Eliminating

Position #3 - Eliminating

Position #4 - Eliminating

Position #5 - Eliminating

Engineering Retirement Position - Not Filling

Health Position #1 - Vacant Position Not Filling

1/2 Contract Employee Position

Planning Position #1 - Eliminating

1/2 Contract Employee Position

Administration Position #1 - Reduced Salary

Position #2 - Reorganization & Reduced Salary

Clerk Position #1 - Reduced Salary

Finance Position #1 - Reduced Salary

Position #2 Reduced Salary

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