The Terre Haute City Council voted Thursday to not give raises to the city’s 89 “rank and file” fire fighters. The salary measure, which will save the city over $50,000, was voted on unanimously.
Until 2002, pay for fire fighters and police officials was based on the same scale. Eight years ago however, a raise was given to firefighters for extra duty pay. As the pay scales rose for both the police and fire departments, the fire fighter’s raises did not factor in the additional extra duty pay. Right now, the lowest paid fighter fighters make almost $450 a year less than the lowest paid patrol officers.
Terre Haute council member Pat Ralston said that while he would love to give the fire fighters a raise, there is just no money available.
“The mayor,” Ralston explained, “told the city council that he has to cut $6.4 million from the city budget, which is 23% of the general fund dollars. What he is saying is that there is not money for raises for ANY employee.”
According to Ralston, this oversight was not seen by the firefighter’s union until now, and union officials will have to rectify the situation during their collective bargaining discussions with the city.
Calls to union president Brad Doan this afternoon were unanswered.