PETERSBURG, VA — More city employees in Petersburg are quitting their jobs over budget cuts.
Chief T.C. Hairston says the Petersburg Fire Department has lost 14 firefighters since the city implemented a mandatory 10 percent pay cut for all city employees.
Some people who live in Petersburg are now concerned about safety.
“How would we have safety if everyone is quitting?” said Shanicia Hopson.
The fire chief says they’re funded for 80 jobs and 69 of those are firefighters work three shifts. He assigns about 23 firefighters per shift and is required to have at least 19.
Fourteen people have left to fight fires for other departments, causing an increase in the need for Petersburg firefighters to work overtime.
“Things happen and you need them,” Robin Litz told 8News. “It is a shame that they have to leave, but it is scary is for sure.”
The chief says he’s concerned about firefighter fatigue. He met with the interim city manager Tuesday to push for an immediate recruitment plan.
“I hope they are able to bring the money back somehow,” Shanicia Hopson added. “I don’t know where it is going to come from but.”
Chief Hairston says so far, they have not had any issues responding to fires and the department is now actively hiring.
Petersburg’s Interim City Manager, Tom Tyrell, told 8News the city is working on a Police and Fire Capital Improvement Program as well as a compensation program that will restore and perhaps surpass salaries to their original level once they achieve proper funding.