Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Colorado Springs firefighters: Let's negotiate a contract.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 at 1:52 PM

Battalion chiefs oversee scores of firefighters and are in charge of major fires. There's a lot of responsibility riding on their should
click to enlarge Downtown Fire Station 1, which recently got a new addition. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Downtown Fire Station 1, which recently got a new addition.

But a battalion chief in the Colorado Springs Fire Department is paid more than $13,000 less, on average, than those in other major fire departments in the state. In some cases, the differential is $20,000.

That's the outcome of a survey of CSFD pay compared to other departments, which found firefighters at all levels are paid from 4 to 12.6 percent less than their counterparts elsewhere.

Even when the city's Human Resources Department applied a "geographic adjustment" to take into account a lower cost of living here, the gap still ranged from 3 to 6 percent.

While police have gotten the ear of Mayor John Suthers about their pay issues, and he's working to find ways to increase their pay, firefighters' compensation hasn't reached priority status.

It's one reason Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters Association Local 5 wants to achieve collective bargaining status and filed signatures with the City Clerk's Office recently to begin that process.

Check out our story in this week's Indy about that. ("Fired up," News, June 28, 2017)

Parity for police pay is important, but, as Local 5 argues, competitive pay is no less important for firefighters in order to avoid becoming a training ground for young firefighters, only to see them move on to higher paying departments.

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