It's the great showdown mumbled about quietly for years by more than one CM and the attorney. Clipping the wings of a Fire Department deemed too expensive, but difficult to cut incrementally due to minimum staffing language in the CBA.
The once 120 person department with five stations is smaller now but techniques and equipment are better, and building standards and alarms have lessened the threat. Still, when something bad happens, it happens and life and property are at risk.
Privately, the argument has been the insurance loss due to fires in the City is a fraction of the cost of the Department but public safety and piece of mind have a value not easily computed.
I always assumed the push would be as in the 80s to reduce staffing by one company and closing a station, mostly likely the one on Mill Street.
Whatever happens, don't expect immediate cost savings as the process is expensive and any settlement may include a buyout of some kind.
Meanwhile, the media likes to cover the conflict and that's about as deep as coverage will get.
Watertown Firefighter's Union: "We're Not Afraid Of These Threats" | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News