Late Monday night, the East Greenwich Town Council voted in favor of restructuring the town's fire department to a three-platoon, 56-hour workweek system.
The 3-2 vote authorized the town manager and fire chief to implement the plan by June 3.
The meeting stretched on for more than five hours, with the fire department vote coming at 11:45 p.m.
The change comes amid financial concerns over the amount of overtime pay for firefighters, which is currently approaching $800,000. Six positions and an entire platoon would be eliminated, leaving eight people in each platoon, with two "floaters" to fill in as needed. Under the 56-hour workweeks, firefighters would work 24-hour shifts.
However, the plan has faced repeated criticism from Lieutenant William Perry, the president of the firefighter's union, who says it would put a heavy burden on already-overworked firefighters and pose a threat to public safety.