New report suggests Naples must hire more firefighters

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NAPLES, Fla.- The City of Naples Fire Department needs more firefighters to meet national standards for quality service.

In 2014, Naples City Council members voted to hire an independent consultant to take a look at a number of issues within the fire department including staffing, station locations, equipment and the department’s budget.

The city paid the consultant $45,000 to look into the issue, and eight months later, the report is finally complete.

“Very thorough, very detailed, a lot to absorb. And frankly, we’re seeing there’s a lot of very positive things about the department and there are some negative things. And over time, we’ll look to see how we can improve those negatives,” said City Manager Bill Moss.

Moss says the report suggests the city should hire nine firefighters and add five administration jobs to take some of the work off of the fire chief.

“That was somewhat of a surprise to me, although our department doesn’t have nearly the types of administrative support I’ve seen in other organizations,” said Moss.

City Councilman Sam Saad disagrees. He says “the report relies on national standards as opposed to creating a customized report for the City of Naples. So, in that respect, this report is an abject failure.”

Saad says his main concern is the leadership within the fire department and that hiring more firefighters isn’t the solution.

“I haven’t read anything yet that says that we are not dong a great job of protecting our citizens,” said Saad.

The city manager says City Council will further discuss the report at one of their meetings next month.

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