Harrison County

Firefighters out in force to protest loss of OT

More than 40 Biloxi firefighters, many wearing red department T-shirts, crowded the Biloxi Council room today to protest the City Council's cutting their overtime.

The council chambers were standing room only for the 1:30 p.m. meeting as more firefighters filed in, joined by citizens protesting the proposed closing of three Biloxi schools.

Tim Groue, a firefighter for more than five years, said the department believes it's been singled out for the loss of overtime, which went into effect this week.

"We're not allowed to have overtime," Groue said. "So far, we're the only department in the city that has had its overtime taken away."

Groue said he's been cut from nine shifts to eight and a half per month. At that rate, he said, his pay will be cut $3,861 this year -- in addition to possibly having longevity cut from 15 years down to 10 and the deductible raised on health insurance.

"We feel we've been singled out," Groue said.

Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said his department has cut $85,000 in overtime thus far this year, compared with last year's budget. But the police department can still use overtime if necessary, Groue said, while his department cannot.

Read more about what happened at the City Council meeting in Wednesday's Sun Herald.