Mayor Latoya Cantrell speaks out for the first time since deciding to temporarily cancel vacation time for all New Orleans firefighters. The move came as union leaders with the New Orleans Fire Fighters Association boycotted working excessive overtime because of a staffing shortage.
Mayor Cantrell says she has no plans to approve vacation time right now and says because of the firefighters' boycott, her administration had to bring in other departments to cover special events, such as Mardi Gras.
“We’ll be great through Mardi Gras, we will not have to pay any overtime to our firefighters,” Mayor Cantrell said. “And it actually saves the city money while we are keeping progress and the work going. So, it seems to be a win-win...we are in a good place."
The firefighters’ union says in some cases firefighters were working more than 96 hours in a 14-day period to make up for a 25% reduction in manpower and a 150% increase in calls for a response. Union leaders say firefighters will continue to work their regularly scheduled shifts.