Firefighters frustrated over pay hike for commanders - Fox 2 News Headlines

Firefighters frustrated over pay hike for commanders

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ATLANTA -

Atlanta firefighters hoping for a pay raise are upset after learning that their commanders have already been approved for a salary increase.

Stephen Borders of the Atlanta Fire Union said that he has gotten phone calls from frustrated employees.

"They feel like they have no outlet," Borders said.

Morale has taken a hit with the revelation that their bosses won't have to wait for a promise of a raise to be fulfilled.

"Well, we make them a priority every year. It's just unfortunate that we haven't been able to meet that priority. And so my message to them is that our mayor has committed in his state of the city address that within the next two months from that date that he will come forward with a plan on getting pay raises," said Chief Kelvin Cochran of the Atlanta Fire Department.

The chief says that his top managers are due a pay upgrade.

"But I can certainly see from the firefighters' perspective how that feels. But all of our firefighters know that our top priority in pursuing pay increases is for everybody across the board to receive a 3.5 percent pay increase. That's always our top initiative every budget year," said Cochran.

An Atlanta firefighter starts out at $35,000 a year. The pay can go up to $50,000.

"My net pay, what I am bringing home, has actually gone down since 2006. Even with a promotion -- the increase cost of the pension," Borders said.

Under the plan that has been approved for the commanders, the salary for a battalion chief ranges from $80,000 to $119,000, while a deputy chief's pay ranges from $98,000 per year to $143,000. The chief's position ranges from $151,000 to a maximum of $221,000.

Cochran says that he will explain to the firefighters that the salary changes are corrections because he says that he has had some firefighters who, with overtime, actually make more than their bosses, who are not eligible for overtime.

Reed has told all the city union representatives he will sit down with them in the coming weeks and give them a specific pay hike proposal.

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