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City Plans To Hire 25 New Firefighters

By Josh James


Lexington, KY – With retirements threatening to cause personnel shortages in the Lexington Fire Department, Mayor Jim Gray has announced plans to hire twenty-five new firefighters in the coming months.

Thirty-nine retirements in the fire department last year left the city with two big challenges: paying for the retirees' $2.4 million dollars' worth of reimbursements and filling the vacated positions. Mayor Gray announced Friday that, despite a lean budget, the city plans to hire twenty-five new firefighters.

"It's going to be hard for the city budget to afford twenty-five new firefighters, but it's going to be harder for us not to," Gray said.

The fire department currently staffs four-hundred and eighty people. Even with the new additions, the department will still be twenty-one firefighters short of their ideal number of five-hundred twenty-six. But Interim Fire Chief Keith Jackson says the new class is enough to address the major concerns about shortages. Meanwhile, Mayor Gray and the city council intend to do a thorough review of the budget to identify additional expenses and new cuts. The hiring process is expected to begin in February or March.