By Max Jaeger
Mayor Bill de Blasio granted a temporary stay of execution on FDNY staffing cuts and now plans to meet with unions and the department to hash out a deal that won’t endanger New Yorkers, according to a firefighter union.
“It was supposed to go through as of today — and they’re waiting for tomorrow’s meeting with the mayor’s office. After your article, we got thousands of calls. It lit up like a Christmas tree,” Uniformed Firefighters Association spokesman Todd Shapiro said of a Monday Post exclusive on the issue.
The FDNY was set to ax “fifth men” from 20 engine companies in the city’s most fire-wracked nabes — meaning all engine companies citywide would be staffed by just four members — under a union contract provision that tied the extra hands to keeping medical leave numbers low.
But the firefighters took more leave than was allowed, and the city was planning to yank the 20 positions Tuesday as a result — a move slammed as dangerous by unions and City Council members Monday.
But Hizzoner pushed pause on the cuts and is expected to huddle with union and department officials Wednesday to try to strike a deal.
UFA president Gerard Fitzgerald said he agrees that members must reduce medical leave, but said he couldn’t make any promises.
“They asked me to try and get the [medical leave] number down by May 1st. But I can’t control how often or how bad our members get hurt, so I couldn’t give them that guarantee. It’s outside my control,” he said.
Firefighters are responding to more calls and face greater dangers than they did when medical leave thresholds were set in 1996, he said.