VIDEO: Firefighters in New Bedford protested the mayor's inauguration Monday night over the city's longstanding blackout policy.
Fire station blackouts have been in effect since 2009 when the former mayor, Scott Lang, initiated the policy as a way to try and save money during the Great Recession. Through the policy, a different station is closed, or "blacked out", for a 24-hour period to cut back on staffing, therefore reducing costs.
"We were in a fiscal apocalypse then. [Mayor Lang] had no choice," said Arthur Mello, of New Bedford Firefighters Local 841.
However, now that the economy is in a better position, firefighters like Mello want to get rid of the blackouts.
"The economy has changed, it's grown. But as it's grown, Mayor Mitchell has chosen to not only continue the blackouts, but to double down on them," said Mello.