Firefighters leaving Joplin; citing low wages - KOAM TV 7

Firefighters leaving Joplin; citing low wages


According to the Joplin Professional Firefighters Association, nearly 30 firefighters have left the department since 2013 citing low wages as the reason for leaving.

At tonight's city council work session on the budget, council members will hear from city personnel in many departments, including firefighters, regarding a wage increase.

"What we're wanting to encourage is the city to look seriously at this pay plan. We're several thousand dollars behind what even smaller departments in our region are paying," Joplin professional firefighters association president Mike Redshaw said.

In the 40 firefighters that left following the Joplin tornado, Redshaw said the department lost 350 years of experience. Experience that's attractive to higher-paying departments in the area.

"Our training level is known regionally and you know, they see Joplin on a resume or on an application and it automatically pops heads," Redshaw said.

Redshaw says about half a dozen current firefighters are looking at different jobs but depending on the outcome of city council, more may be added to the count and emphasizes the importance of having trained and experienced personnel. It costs around $10,000 to train every firefighter according to city manager Sam Anselm, making an impact when firefighters are trained using taxpayer dollars then leaving the area.

"We're gonna present some options to council on what the financial impact of the 1%, 2% or 3% pay raise would be. Or, I'm also going to discuss the pay plan with our city council," city manager Sam Anselm said.

Anselm describes the budget as "lean" in terms of operations and capital requests but is hopeful some solution can be reached.

"It will be a challenge and a good conversation to have with council to figure out how to make sure we're continuing to provide the best service to our residents that we can," Anselm said.

City council will enter the budget work session following Monday's council meeting but a solution will not be penned for several weeks.

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