Chicago Fire Dept. also piling up overtime

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Like Chicago’s Police Department,  The city’s fire department is blowing past its overtime budget this year, prompting union leaders to call for increased hiring.

The fire department is expected to pay about $43 million for overtime in 2013.

That’s more than twice the amount Mayor Emanuel’s budget set aside for the expense.

The city has budgeted more than $35 million for fire department overtime next year.

The head of the fire department union says the city needs to hire more firefighters and paramedics to keep pace with retirements.

The city has had a hiring freeze in place since black applicants filed suit against the department, arguing the firefighter test was discriminatory.

Classes of fire department graduates will start start filling vacancies next year, but they’re only expected to keep pace with current staffing levels.

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