Winston-Salem firefighters decry proposed elimination of inspector positions

The Winston-Salem City Council meets at 6 p.m. tonight in Room 239 of City Hall to consider recommendations for cost savings submitted by a citizens' organizational efficiency review committee.

IAFF Local 682, which represents Winston-Salem firefighters, has been maintaining a nearly constant barrage of tweets, urging members and supporters to show up at the meeting to oppose a recommendation to eliminate three inspector positions.

In the past hour, the union has tweeted, "Help support our brothers/sisters @ risk of losing jobs due 2 incorrect info @ council meeting." And, "Help fill the room 2nite, support WS fire safety. 3 fire inspector positions are @ risk."

The organizational efficiency document, which was released in early March, contends that the fire department inspects commercial properties at a frequency that exceeds state-mandated requirements. The committee recommends that small- and medium-sized commercial firms be inspected every two or three years instead of annually, as is the current practice.

Local 682 President David Pollard told WXII 12: "These men and women who do these inspections, they're out there preventing fires from happening, and really the biggest fact right now is that in light of recent events in Boston and Texas, now's not the time to cut public safety positions out of the budget. I mean, the saying is, 'You show me your budget and I'll show you your values,' and right now is not the time to cut public safety from the budget."

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