November 29, 2021

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Citing staffing at 4 S.I. firehouses, officials want Mayor de Blasio to call off NYC vaccine mandate deadline – SILive.com

3 min read

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A host of borough elected officials are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to immediately reverse course on the vaccine mandate set to go into effect Monday, citing concerns over FDNY staffing after an apparent sick out Friday resulted in several fire companies out of service.

“As of this morning, 26 FDNY stations, including five in my district, have closed due to Mayor de Blasio’s decision to lock unvaccinated firefighters out of work,” said Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) in a statement issued along with Councilman Joe Borelli (R-South Shore).

Citing information from the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the politicians said the following FDNY stations on Staten Island have closed due to staff shortages: Engine 152 in Richmond, Engine 158 in Mariners Harbor, Ladder 78 in New Brighton and Ladder 86 in Graniteville.

The wave of sick leaves led to several companies in the city temporarily going out of service, an FDNY official told the Advance/SILive.com. The official added that the department has not closed any firehouses.

Malliotakis contends that the shortage of potentially thousands of firefighters will result in longer response times, leading to an increased potential for injury or death.

“Our city simply cannot afford to lose experienced detectives, police officers, and first responders,” she added. ”I urge the mayor to reverse this mandate immediately before someone is hurt as a result. If not, I fear the consequences will be dire.”

Said Borelli: “I’m not sure anyone cares [about] the vaccine status of a first responder as they apply defibrillators to their chest, and I can say for certain that first responders aren’t checking the vaccine cards of those they are trying to save. The mayor’s mandates have made the city less safe and, and we are losing only employees that have been tested within the week and do not have COVID. It makes little sense.”

Other local politicians expressed concern over worker shortages due to the mandate.

“Though we continue to urge our constituents and friends to get vaccinated, there should be a testing option as an alternative for city workers who choose to not get vaccinated at this point,” read a letter sent to de Blasio which was signed by Assemblymen Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island) and Charles Fall (D-North Shore) and state Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn).

The trio said neither union nor elected officials were consulted prior to the mandate.

“We are requesting a temporary stay of one month, until December 1, to allow for negotiations between the unions and city officials,” the letter said.

FDNY PROTEST

A number of FDNY firefighters called in sick on Friday in an apparent protest that drew the ire of the department’s commissioner, who slammed it as “excessive” and “unacceptable.”

“The excessive sick leave by a group of our firefighters because of their anger at the vaccine mandate for all city employees is unacceptable, contrary to their oaths to serve, and may endanger the lives of New Yorkers,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said in a statement.

“Despite these actions by some, the department will continue to respond to all calls for help that come our way.”

As of Friday night, the current vaccination rate for all FDNY members is 77%. Seventy-two percent of firefighters are vaccinated, while EMTs stand at 84%

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