Firefighter Union President Says Many Firefighters Remain Below Federal Poverty Hourly Pay Rate

Saturday, October 24, 2020
Chattanooga Fire Fighters Association President Jack Thompson said city officials plan to raise all city employees to above the federal poverty rate, but it will not apply to firefighters.
 
He said firefighters start out at $10.54 an hour and do not reach the hourly poverty rate until eight years.
 
Mr.
Thompson said, "
The City of Chattanooga administrators have been publicizing for the last few months that "ALL" Chattanooga City Employees currently receive more than $12.38 per hour, which is NOT true. The Federal Poverty Rate, which the City repeatedly cites, is listed as $12.60 per hour. Their current plan is to raise all City Employees' starting salary to at least that $12.60 per hour rate... EXCEPT for the Firefighters of the Chattanooga Fire Department.
"Their justification for not raising the Fire Department's starting salary to at least the Federal Poverty Rate, is that the members of the Chattanooga Fire Department are not eligible for this increase due to our work schedule and that these calculations can not apply to us. The average City of Chattanooga Employee works a 40 hour work week for approximately 2,080 hours per year. The Chattanooga Firefighter works a set 3,120 hours per year. This amounts to Firefighters working over 1,000 hours per year more than ANY other city employee and those additional hours are NOT eligible for overtime pay. In other words, they claim that because the Chattanooga Firefighters work more hours, they should be paid less for each of those hours. The City's attempt to claim that this "simple math" is irrelevant; is utterly disingenuous.
"At this time, the starting salary for a state certified Chattanooga Firefighter is only $10.54 per hour. A Chattanooga Firefighter does not reach that $12.60 per hour mark until after eight years of employment... eight years to reach the proposed starting salary of every other city employee, which is still their acknowledged Federal Poverty Rate. These Firefighters must also be trained in hazardous materials, numerous rescue disciplines and be certified Emergency Medical Technicians.
 
"There are currently more than 100 Chattanooga Firefighters that are below the City's new proposed starting wage, and the City administrators have stated that there are no plans to raise them above that level. The substantially low pay rate compared to other Fire Departments in our region is resulting in an exodus of certified Firefighters and causing staffing levels at the Chattanooga Fire Department to reach dangerously low rates, both for working Firefighters on scene and the Citizens that they have sworn to serve.
"The city has yet to respond to repeated attempts to discuss this issue."

PHOTOS: 2020 EPB Holiday Windows

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Grand Jury No Bills And True Bills


Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: BALLARD, ANTHONY MONTREL 186 BLEDSOE TER CHATTANOOGA, 37405 Age at Arrest: 33 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DISORDERLY CONDUCT ... (click for more)

Here are the No Bills and True Bills from the Hamilton County Grand Jury: No Bills: 1 BENN, NATHANIEL OSAZE EVADING ARREST 11/11/2020 1 BOYD, JAMIUS MAURQUIS POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA ... (click for more)



Breaking News

PHOTOS: 2020 EPB Holiday Windows

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: BALLARD, ANTHONY MONTREL 186 BLEDSOE TER CHATTANOOGA, 37405 Age at Arrest: 33 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DISORDERLY CONDUCT --- BROBECK, ADAM JACKSON 1957 HARDWOOD LN SODDY DAISY, 37379 Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VIOLATION OF PROBATION (THEFT OVER 10000) --- ... (click for more)

Opinion

County Employees Need A Bonus Too

A few weeks ago we learned that Sheriff Jim Hammond was asking for a second raise. Earlier this year Hamilton County employees were notified that "due to COVID-19" there would be no raises for employees of any kind this year. I guess Mr. Hammond didnt get that memo about no raises. Why is it that some employees will be getting a raise and others are not? That doesn't really ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Am Thankful

For the life of me, I can’t remember when it started but back in the ‘70s, I began devoting my sports column on Thanksgiving Day to off-the-wall stuff of which I was truly and genuinely thankful. Back then I would go to from “76 reasons”, then “77 Reasons”, and then “78 reasons” with every new year. We climbed through 80’s, and the 90’s and it became a tradition. By then it had ... (click for more)

Sports

Dennis Norwood: Thankful For The Memories

Here it is Thanksgiving 2020 and time to reflect on those things for which I am most thankful. With the year we’ve had it has sometimes been tough to even think about giving thanks, but on reflection I believe we will all find people and events we should thank the Lord above for bringing our way. One thing I am grateful for this year are good memories that make me laugh. One ... (click for more)

Cakewalk: UTC Rolls By Lander In Season Opener

The big news from downtown Chattanooga Wednesday afternoon came from McKenzie Arena where a college basketball game was actually played. Yes, it was the season and home opener for the Chattanooga Mocs as they rolled past the Lander Bearcats by a 99-63 final. Bellarmine had been Chattanooga’s original season-opening opponent, but had to cancel because of Covid-19 issues. The ... (click for more)