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Local 92 meets with Toledo mayor in ongoing Toledo Fire understaffing negotiations

The group met Thursday for nearly two hours to discuss the logistics of hiring, which is more complicated since the pandemic.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Current members of Toledo Fire and Rescue joined potential future members of the department at a recruitment event on Thursday.

Toledo Fire chief Brian Byrd believes these events will give people a one-stop shop for learning about opportunities in the department.

"Our hiring process can be a little confusing. This campaign will allow us to have better reach" said Chief Byrd. 

The hiring push comes as the department continues to operate below the minimum number of 113 needed to support the city, which consists of roughly 40 riggs. 

Right now, when the department can't fill spots at a certain location, crews are dispersed to busier areas that can then cover more ground.

"We had always intended on hiring more classes, so that part hasn't changed. What this does is it gives us the ability to be more efficient with how we bring more qualified people to the table," said Chief Byrd. 

Toledo mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and the Local 92 firefighters union have been negotiating over the past few weeks with how to address this issue. The group met Thursday for nearly two hours to discuss the logistics of hiring, which is more complicated since the pandemic.

"It really hampered our ability to bring in classes the way we'd like to, not necessarily from a financial standpoint," said Mayor Kapszukiewicz. 

Representatives with Local 92 confirm they are working with the city to fund more trainings and figure out how they can fund additional staff. But right now, both sides say the problem is not a salary issue.

"It's about the logistics of the background checks and things of that nature that have put us behind the 8 ball," said Mayor Kapzukiewicz. 

Both groups feel it's realistic to say an agreement could be reached by the end of July.