Firefighters thankful council is considering pay raises

Firefighters thankful council is considering pay raises

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis City Council members are closer to giving all city employees raises.

Following the hearing on the police department last week, the fire department had its turn Tuesday before City Council.

Memphis Fire Fighters Association said it's glad council members are at least listening to some of the concerns firefighters have about not receiving a raise in several years.

In the meantime, some council members praised the department for staying within the budget it was given.

"You guys still did a phenomenal job staying within the realm of your budget," Councilman Berlin Boyd said.

The council passed the more than $147 million budget through the committee easily.

That passage comes on the heels of an eventful few days in budget talks--with the council making a $2.7 million cut to proposed Memphis Police Department overtime funds.

The cut was to enable the city to give pay raises of one percent to all city employees. The move was the result of a compromise with Mayor Jim Strickland.

Other council members said it is about being fair to everyone.

"I want to make sure that we're fair to everybody across the table - all 6,000 employees," Budget Committee Chairman Edmund Ford Jr. said.

The firefighters union said it was glad to be heard.

"It makes us feel good that we do have an ear of the council," union president Thomas Malone said. "The fact that they think everybody deserves a little something."

Council members did not discuss the potential fire raises during the budget proposal, but MFD Director Gina Sweat said she appreciates the council considering it.

"It is something that I appreciate they're looking at and I"m sure that the firefighters and paramedics on the street appreciate that it's at least being explored," Sweat said.

The final reading of the budget is scheduled for June 6. That leaves the council just a couple more weeks for budget talks.

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