Seattle department fights for its budget

(Seattle-AP) -- Seattle firefighters have hired a lobbyist to
fight budget restrictions.
Jamie Durkan will try to prevent a three (m) million dollar
reduction in what the department says it needs. He says he'll look
for the money in the budgets of the parks and transportation
departments.
A union director, Ken Stuart, says 80 percent of the
firefighters live outside Seattle and don't feel they should take a
cut to support services in a city where they don't live.
The mayor has proposed spending three (m) million dollars more
on the fire department next year. But that's three (m) million less
than the department wants to maintain staffing and salary
increases. In response, Fire Chief Gary Morris has proposed
eliminating 29 firefighter positions.
Eighty-five percent of the fire department budget goes to
salaries.
The Seattle Times says the average fire department salary is
nearly 66-thousand dollars. That compares with 59-thousand for
police.
The Times says Seattle spends 185 dollars per resident on its
fire department. By comparison, Portland spends 119.
(Seattle Times)