Do Firefighters Have To Choose? - And Response

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I just read the article on your website regarding “Winners and Losers with New City Budget.”  Upon reaching the end of the article I was forced to take a second look. The statement from the mayor’s chief of staff was that firefighters opted to use the 1.5 percent, the amount needed to repair a broken pay plan, for department use.  

I also read in Sundays Times Free Press about the Chattanooga Fire Department using money to replace old worn out SCBA’s (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) that the chief stated had been needed and requested three years ago.  

As I began to put the two together I can’t help but be blown away thinking that fire administrators were somehow forced to choose between fixing a broken pay structure (one the city has spend hundreds of thousands of dollars studying over previous years and it still isn’t fixed) and raises for its men and women or purchasing new equipment required to keep them safe in the immediately dangerous to life and health environments that they are faced with on a daily basis. Isn’t this like telling the men and women in blue that you can either have a pay raise or bullets for your gun?

I am really glad to see that the city is stepping up to fix the pay plan for the police officers. It is long overdue and much needed and deserved. If I remember correctly just last July all non sworn city employees received a 1.5 percent raise and firefighters and police officers were left out. Again this year all non sworn city employees are receiving 1.5 percent raises and the firefighters again are left out.  

I would love to see the council members speak out about the firefighters being left out two years in a row in regards to pay raises and not for replacement equipment needed for everyday use. If you can clear up anything I stated or have more information to provide please feel free to reply and discuss.

Mr. Grohn, I am excited to hear your response and greatly appreciate all of your hard work.

Jarred Montieth

Chattanooga Fire Department 

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