The city is exploring the possibility of creating a metro fire department to serve De Pere along with Allouez, Ashwaubenon, Bellevue, Green Bay, and Howard. This project is in its very early stages, and an official proposal has not yet been made. Advantages include saving money on upper management staffing, moving equipment to other stations for better utilization, reduced response time, and reduced equipment and maintenance costs. Some concerns that I’ve heard include a lack of involvement of local union officials thus far, loss of control by participating municipalities, possible increased response times, and firefighters responding to fires without local knowledge of the area.
Given the recent personnel cuts in our own Fire Department, a significant advantage of a metro department would be the reduced probability of layoffs. With a significantly larger department, and therefore many more opportunities for firefighter placement, it should be much easier to absorb any fluctuations in staffing.
We’re still at the point of doing a study, and Ashwaubenon has since said that they’re not interested. Generally speaking, I’m in favor of such an arrangement. Of course it will have to have the proper structure and funding so that all participants see advantages.
Please contact me and let me know how you feel.