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Jefferson City Council considers 48-hour fire department shifts

Jefferson City Council considers 48-hour fire department shifts

April 16th, 2019 by Nicole Roberts in News

Jefferson City Prosecutor Gaylin Carver is sworn in to office Monday by Cole County Presiding Judge Patricia Joyce at the Municipal Building.

Photo by Jenna Kieser /News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Council will vote next month whether to authorize the Jefferson City Fire Department to move to 48-hour shifts.

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The council heard the fire department's proposal Monday to switch to 48.5-hour shifts, with 96 hours off. It currently runs on 24.25-hour shifts — where employees will work three days in a five-day span and have four days off.

The fire department union, Local 671, hope this shift change will improve firefighters' circadian rhythm — the brain's internal clock that regulates the body's sleepiness and alertness — Union Vice President James Noah and committee member Colin Wright previously said.

They added it could decrease firefighters' commute times and provide more opportunities for them to spend quality time with their families and coworkers on other shifts.

It could also help the department attract and retain firefighters, Fire Chief Matt Schofield previously said.

The department doesn't foresee any additional costs from moving to the new shift, Noah said Monday. It also would not impact the level of service, he added.

If the Council gives its approval May 6, the union hopes to implement the shift change in 2020.

In May 2018, Local 671 created a committee to research the 48.5-hour shifts. In November 2018, more than 77 percent of the shift workers approved moving toward 48.5-hour shifts, committee member Colin Wright previously said.

The Jefferson City Public Safety Committee advanced the Fire Department's proposal to the City Council in February.

In other business, Cole County Presiding Judge Patricia Joyce swore in the elected city officials Monday evening.

Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin, Ward 1 Councilman David Kemna, Ward 2 Councilwoman Laura Ward, Ward 3 Councilman Ken Hussey, Ward 4 Councilman Carlos Graham and Ward 5 Councilman Mark Schreiber won re-election April 2.

Former City Prosecutor Brian Stumpe was sworn-in as municipal judge and Gaylin Carver took over the city prosecutor position.