Seekonk Fire Department Well Staffed, TA Says
Town Administrator Shawn Cadime said the Seekonk Fire Department is well staffed. Cadime said Wednesday the department has a new Chief (Sandra Lowery), a new Secretary, and two new Captains.
$4,264,164 was allocated for the Fire Department in the FY’2024 budget. That figure reflects a 7.4 percent increase over FY’ 23. The bulk of that amount is designated for salaries – 45 full time employees (1 Chief, 1 Deputy Chief, 2 Captains, 8 Lieutenants, and 33 Fire Fighters).
The Deputy Fire Chief position has been vacant for three years. Cadime said it “doesn’t make any sense” to put a new person into that job until the Captain and the Fire Chief “has a better understanding of the operational standpoint so that she can figure out what the actual need is for a deputy.”
Last month, Seekonk Firefighters Local 1931 posted the following on their Facebook page: “The men and women of the Seekonk Fire Department show up every day to ensure the health and safety of the people of Seekonk. They deserve a fully staffed and fully qualified department. The Seekonk Fire Department has lost 10 qualified people to other departments in the past 5 years; 6 in this past year alone. The hiring of individuals who need to attend both the fire academy and paramedic school is a long road, which can take up to 5 years. Retention of qualified persons is necessary for proper functioning of a career fire department.”
Cadime said the town has committed to increased staffing levels in the Fire Department. “We added five new positions in FY’24, we’re going to continue to do that in FY’25,” Cadime noted. “We allocated positions from (Department of Public Works) over to the Fire Department. I think we’ve addressed the concerns collectively.”
Cadime said the Fire Department was probably the second highest increased department next to the School department based on warrant articles and other appropriations. “I don’t think you’ll find another department that has increases as much as the fire department,” Cadime added.
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