PHOENIX — The Granite Mountain Hotshot crew that was nearly wiped out by the Yarnell Hill wildfire may not be reformed because the city is concerned about its insurance premiums, the city’s attorney said Thursday.
Prescott Attorney Jon Paladini said the loss of the hotshots may raise the city’s insurance premiums, making it fiscally impossible for the city to reform the crew.
“Is our insurer going to be willing to take that risk,” he said on News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos.
Paladini said that the city is not sure if the city will face raised premiums as the Granite Mountain Hotshots were the only municipally-funded crew in the nation, making the city’s situation unique.
The city, by law, is required to carry either worker’s compensation insurance or be self-insured.
In response to questions as to why the city can’t afford to posthumously give all the firefighters benefits equivalent to those of full-time employees, Paladini said a city like Prescott — which has an annual budget of about $30 million — simply can’t pay out millions of unanticipated dollars.
“A city the size of Prescott, being relatively small, is no where near capable of absorbing risk on the level of, say, the state of California, the state of Arizona or the federal government.”
Paladini said the crew was constructed in the same manner many other crews are: a few full-time employees surrounded by seasonal or part-time employees. This format helps to fund more hotshot crews.
“The practical reality is that if all hotshot teams were all permanent, full-time, benefited employees, even at the federal level, you’d probably have half the number of teams out there,” he said.
If the city decides against reforming its hotshot crew, there are options. The city could bring in a less elite team, a crew geared towards preventing fires rather than fighting them or the state or federal government could station a crew in Prescott.
While Paladini said the city can’t afford to grant the families full-time benefits, it would likely be open to the state or federal government stepping in to help.
“If there’s a way for the state legislature to come in, if there’s a way the federal government to come in and help out these folks and it doesn’t come back to a direct cost to the citizens in the community of Prescott, I would suggest that our council members, our elected officials would support something like that.”
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- ‘Supernatural’ TV show convention comes to Arizona
- Jan Brewer thinks Paul Penzone will have tough time beating Sheriff Joe Arpaio
- Mac & Gaydos joined by Burmese python after losing March Madness bet
- Mac and Gaydos deliver pizzas to winning class in REDucation contest
- Civil rights activist wants Phoenix-area NAACP boss to step down after incident