Milledgeville Fire Department chief requesting pay raise for his employees
Roughly two dozen supporters of the Milledeville Fire Department and firefighters, themselves, last week were on hand for a marathon City Council meeting, as Chief Wiliam Collier is vouching for an employee pay raise built into City Hall's new budget.
After several decades of losing leverage and going in reverse, the American worker largely has benefitted from the pandemic and finally has some leverage, in terms of wages and pay.
The Brick, for example, currently is "looking to fill back of house positions, training pay starts at $12 an hour, those with kitchen experience 15/hr." Starting out at $12 an hour to cook food and wash dishes at a downtown Milledgeville restaurant would've been unheard of a mere few years ago.
Wage increases have made things tricky for local government agencies, however. Sheriff Bill Massee and Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord will tell anyone who'll listen that they're having a hard time retaining deputies and officers due to higher starting salaries in other communities.
Now, Milledgeville Fire Department Chief William Collier is feeling the same crunch. With this in mind, Collier is requesting a "starting pay" raise from its current $31,000 to $37,000. The City Council is expected to approve its new fiscal year budget in the coming weeks. In the mean time, it's created some uncertainty and uneasiness within the MFD.
"Some of these younger employees that we've mentored are now waiting to see what's going to happen (with the City Council's new budget)," Collier said. "They are waiting to see how it all plays out and whether or not they can go somewhere else and make significantly more money."
Collier added that his department just had a firefighter resign two weeks ago and take a job with the Putnam County Fire Department, where the staring pay is $41,000, according to the chief. Collier added that starting pay in Macon-Bibb County for firefighters is $42,000 with an instant $4,500 raise once a firefighter becomes EMT certified. In Milledgeville, the EMT bump is $1,600 per year, according to Collier.