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A new report found the Arlington County Fire Department has been regularly exceeding its overtime budget while putting firefighters at risk of fatigue and injury.
County Auditor Chris Horton blamed staffing shortages and a lack of payroll controls for the department exceeding both its overtime budget and personnel budget over the last three years. He noted that the overtime costs ranged from $5.2 million to $6.2 million per year, despite being budgeted at $3.2-3.4 million.
The department requires that firefighters work no longer than 60 hours in a single shift, and must take at least a six-hour break before starting new shift. However, the audit found that supervisors could override that requirement.
ACFD responded that they agreed with 20 of the recommendations. When it came to commission a staffing study, establishing better interagency communication, and budgeting for more overtime, Fire Chief David Povlitz disagreed with the need for additional resources, writing that ACFD could address those needs internally.