October 1, 2013 -- Davis Firefighters are protesting their working conditions saying that they are working too much overtime. They are also concerned because they haven't had a fire chief in more than four years. Photo courtesy of Bob Weist.
DAVIS, Calif. -- Firefighters have hit the streets in Davis to let the public know about their concerns about the direction of their Department.
"We would never do any type of job action that could put the public at risk," Bob Weist with Firefighters local 3494 said.
Weist says department staff has been cut leaving the Davis department with just 36 firefighters protecting a city of 66,000 people.
Weist points at the spiraling amount of overtime worked as a example of the problem.
"Our overtime over the last two years has increased 220 percent. Our normal overtime with 45 firefighters was around 5,000 hours a year. Now with 36 firefighters, we have nearly 18,000 hours of overtime," he said.
Another issue is the department has been without a chief for four years.
"There's a lot of changes coming, where the city council and city manager want to look at. But there are a lot of operational issues and changes that are happening and we have no one at the top," Weist said.
Weist says the stop gap of having Davis's police chief serve a dual role isn't working as law enforcement is unfamiliar with dynamics of fighting fires and fire prevention.
Weist also says the city is violating general law city codes by not staffing the fire department with trained and certified chief.