Drastic cuts to fire budget approved, union talks to decide their impact | MLive.com:
"MUSKEGON, MI - A drastic reduction in the Muskegon Fire Department budget was unanimously approved by city commissioners Tuesday after they heard a sobering presentation about skyrocketing overtime and pension costs.
The $689,842 reduction in the department's budget, bringing it to $3.96 million, was included in the city's overall budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year that begins July 1.
...Those issues, according to Peterson, include rising employee costs, including retiree health care and pensions; "excessive leave time" that pushes overtime costs to cover absent firefighters to an "unsustainable level" and "scheduling inflexibility" caused by staffing minimums and 24-hour shifts that have firefighters working an average of nine days a month.
"The bottom line is our system and our structure is broken," he said..."