During Debate Over DFR Dispatch Schedule, Rawlings Warns About Too Much Meddling
Photo by Sam Merten
The council's wrapped up straw-voting on those budget amendments, one of which involved those changes to Dallas-Fire Rescue's dispatch scheduling. Sheffie Kadane had proposed leaving the schedule as it is now: with DFR employees working one 24-hour shift, followed by 72 hours off. Because, he said, going City Manager Mary Suhm's route -- four 12-hour days, with three days off per week -- "would be devastating," echoing the sentiments of those DFR workers protesting the changes.
Suhm took issue with Kadane's proposal: "We have recommended the best schedule, which is what you hired us to do," she said. "Y'all asked us to be creative and look for efficiencies, effectiveness, and that means change. You've changed people's salaries, people's jobs -- some don't have jobs anymore. And I understand people are upset about change. I get that." That said, she told the council to stick with what she's recommended -- and if they need to revisit in the subject in nine, 12 months, fine, "we'll look at it."
Scott Griggs asked Suhm: "What is ineffective and inefficient about the current schedule?" She reiterated what she told us: "It has a lot of requirement for break time, which creates overtime, [and] we don't need to be paying that overtime" -- $1 million, to be precise.
"I think we as a council have to be clear about what is a management issue and what is a policy issue," said Ann Margolin. "And this is a management issue, and we should not be inserting ourselves into this."
Suhm reiterated: "Change is hard," but, in this case, absolutely necessary.
Mayor Mike Rawlings concurred -- with Margolin, with Suhm.
"We have to decide what we are going to do as a body," he said. "Do we set budget and strategy and policy, or do we get into the details of the city manager's business? Sometimes we have to step back to do our jobs well, otherwise we'll get into the scheduling of people all over City Hall, which is a dangerous thing to do. Those are my two cents."
With that, a vote was taken -- and the motion failed. Which means, I assume, Wednesday's protest is still a go.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.