Council to vote on adding paramedics

December 20, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

If City Council members approve the ordinance next week, three more paramedics will be hired for the Martinsburg Fire Department and every fire department employee will receive a two-step pay increase, city officials said Friday.

Council members are expected to consider the matter Tuesday at a special meeting scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

The ordinance would increase the minimum pay of a firefighter/emergency medical technician from $24,661 to $27,403, including automatic overtime pay.

Salaries of firefighter/paramedics would increase from $27,188 to $30,212. Fire lieutenants would be paid $34,974, compared with their current salary of $31,474. Fire captains would be paid $38,200, up from $34,700.

Fire Chief Paul Bragg's salary would increase from $55,821 to $58,394.

In June 2002, off-duty firefighters picketed in front of City Hall because of what they deemed to be low wages. Bragg said he met with his officers Friday morning to tell them of the expected salary increases. Feedback was positive, he said.


The same proposed ordinance that would allow for the pay increases will be used to hire an additional three firefighter/paramedics, Bragg and City Manager Mark Baldwin said.

The extra personnel will mean another paramedic will be on duty during each of the department's three shifts.

If the paramedics hired already are certified in the state, they will receive a $3,000 sign-on bonus, provided they agree to stay with the city for two years, Baldwin said.

The pay increases should allow the department to better recruit and retain employees, Bragg and Baldwin said. The new salary scale should compare favorably with what firefighters and medics make in surrounding areas, Bragg said.

Also on Friday, Bragg said that next month the department will add three new four-wheel drive ambulances to its fleet. The department's current ambulances were purchased used and had high mileage. Firefighters previously referred to them as "junk."

Bragg said the new MedTec ambulances will arrive in early January.

Funding for the new ambulances and pay increases will come from the city's general fund. The three new positions will be paid for using the money the city collects when it transports sick or injured people to the hospital.

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