PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- City councilors heard Monday from a consultant hired to do a top-to-bottom review of the fire departments policies and procedures.
The review comes amid criticism of the department's overtime budget, staffing levels, and incidents in recent years with the city's fireboat. Councilors were hesitant to offer specific feedback on the report so soon after its release. But it was clear that the council and the fire chief are eager to take steps to improve the department.
The report covers a variety of areas, from the department's organizational structure, to response times, to overtime reduction. Councilor Ed Suslovic says the one question that goes unanswered is the one that prompted him to request the review in the first place.
"To me the biggest omission that wasn't really addressed, why is Portland's fire department the 4th largest in the country on a per capita basis?" Suslovic said. "It never really answers the question, do we need to be? If so why? What size should our department be?"
The president of the consulting firm told Suslovic that population size doesn't typically drive firefighter staffing.
Councilors told Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria that they will give him the time to workout the specifics the report doesn't provide. The report suggests taking three months to go over its findings.