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'Grave concerns' over part-time Somerset fire chief, FBU say
4:00pm Wednesday 14th August 2013 in News
FIREFIGHTERS have “grave concerns” over Devon and Somerset fire chief Lee Howell going part-time.
The Fire Brigade Union has written to fire authority councillors after they announced Mr Howell will advise the Welsh Government two days a week.
In the letter FBU secretary Trevor French labelled the move “outrageous, wrong and a kick in the teeth for fire and rescue staff”.
He added: “Devon and Somerset deserve and require a full time chief fire officer…at this time of unprecedented cuts and challenges, with even further Government spending cuts in the pipeline, with deep staff concern and very low morale, with ongoing issues regarding combination and with senior and principal officers having just taken redundancy.”
The decision came after the fire authority approved frontline cuts which the FBU believes has “created enormous concern amongst staff” - full-time cover is reducing at several fire stations, including Taunton, while 149 firefighter posts are going.
Mr Howell says the arrangement is not unusual and will bring in an extra £40,000.
He added: “The vast majority of my time will be in Devon and Somerset and I'm supported by some absolutely exceptional senior managers and staff.
“Together we continue to deal with the financial pressures by thinking and operating differently.”
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