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Pay hikes plan raises councilman's ire

December 24, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Martinsburg City Council members gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a pay-raise package for the city's fire department employees, but not before one council member complained that the city's pay raise proposals are starting to get "totally out of control."

Council members Donald Anderson, Gregg Wachtell, Richard Yauger, Max Parkinson and Roger Lewis approved the first and second reading of an ordinance that sets up the pay increases.

Council member Chris Baker voted against the proposal.

The final reading of the pay-raise plan will be Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

If approved, the pay raises will go into effect Jan. 1.

The ordinance gives every Martinsburg Fire Department employee a two-step pay increase.

According to the ordinance:

  • The minimum pay of a firefighter/emergency medical technician would increase from $24,661 to 27,403.

  • The salary of a firefighter/paramedic would increase from $27,188 to $30,212.

  • The salary of fire lieutenants would increase from $31,474 to $34,974.

  • The salary for fire captains would go from $34,700 to $38,200.

  • The salary for Fire Chief Paul Bragg would increase from $55,821 to $58,394.


Baker was concerned about the pay increase being considered for Bragg, saying there has been a concern that the city administration is getting "top heavy."

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"This is a prime example of it. We need to be careful about what we're doing with these salaries. It's starting to get totally out of control," Baker said.

Baker instead suggested that Bragg receive a $1,000 pay raise.

Wachtell said Bragg deserves the raise called for in the proposed ordinance.

Anderson pointed out that Bragg does not get overtime pay and when Bragg became chief, he was brought in near the bottom of the pay scale.

The pay increase plan also allows the city to hire three additional firefighter/paramedics, and offers a $3,000 sign-on bonus to paramedics and patrol officer-level Martinsburg Police Department officers if they already have their state certifications, officials said.

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