Just like their police counterparts, Radcliff Fire Department personnel soon will experience a pay increase thanks in part to the city’s debt free status.
As discussed and passed during a special city council meeting Friday, the city’s firefighters will see an increase in their yearly salaries.
The council originally was to consider the salary plan during its regular meeting Tuesday, but the city’s Chief Financial Officer Chance Fox said the item had to be removed from the agenda.
“Late last week I was looking at some of the scenarios that caused some discrepancy and I felt like we needed to remove it from the agenda so I could adjust or tweak the plan a little bit,” Fox told the council in its Friday meeting.
Fox said some firefighters who might receive a promotion potentially could make less on the new pay schedule than the current.
“... If you took a 10- to 11-year firefighter and they were to get the promotion at 10 percent as the plan laid out, they potentially could get a pay raise to be promoted from firefighter to sergeant and have a lower sergeant pay than what the pay called for than what was currently in effect,” he said.
Fox said he believed it wasn’t the council’s intent to “go backwards” in salary on some of these promotions.
Fox said starting by raising starting salaries and having a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase per year, it actually was causing some veteran firefights, some 20 years or more, to be paid less on the new salary plan.
Fox said he corrected the issue by making the cost-of-living increase 2 percent.
“I needed to make that change to maintain that consistency,” he said of $6,000 step increase for each 5-year step on the cap salary schedule.
Under the salary plan, a first-year firefighter will start at $37,000 and be capped at $56,000 after 25 years of service; a sergeant will start at $47,500 and cap at $57,500 after 15 years; a lieutenant will start at $58,500 and cap at $63,500 after 15 years; and a captain will start at $64,500 and cap at $69,500 after 15 years.
Although the department currently doesn’t have a deputy chief, the salary for the position is $70,500 with a cap of $80,000. The chief’s salary is $76,500 and caps at $86,000.
Councilman Chris Yates raised concerns that police was approved on a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase, while the new fire salary plan is receiving 2 percent. He asked Fox to run figures into a 2 percent cost-of-living increase to be presented to council at its next meeting.
“I’m just saying the intentions were to separate the pay some (between the fire and police departments), but by doing that we’re losing the separation that we had when you’re giving one 2 percent every year and the other 1.5,” he said. “I’m not saying we can do, but I just want to see the numbers associated with it.”
The council also addressed the mayor’s salary.
Yates said the mayor’s salary is around $61,000, with other city employees making more than the “CEO of the city.” He recommended raising the mayor’s salary to $72,500.
The salary will go into effect for the next elected mayor whose term will begin Jan. 1, 2023.
Mayor J.J. Duvall abstained from the discussion except to clarify former mayor’s salaries.
Both matters passed unanimously. Councilman Kim Thompson was not in attendance.