Brookfield part-time firefighters will receive at least 22-percent raises in a move to try to keep more of them working for the township.
Fire Chief David Masirovits asked for the raises for reasons practical and humanitarian.
“We are losing good employees rapidly to other communities paying $2, $3, even $8 more an hour for the same services our staff provides here in Brookfield,” Masirovits said, reading from a letter he wrote to the trustees. “We require a lot of our part-time workforce, and our employees want to be committed to Brookfield, but they also have expenses and bills to pay.”
“These people come to us highly trained, and we are paying them less per hour with no benefits than some fast-food chains or even dollar-store retailers are paying them,” he said.
Just like with the police service, fewer people are entering the fire service, and the competition is fierce for scarce candidates, Masirovits said.
“I cannot guarantee that this will solve all the staffing woes,” he said. “If we don’t try, we will never know.”
The trustees raised the pay of part-time firefighters and basic emergency medical technicians from $10.15 an hour to $13, a 28-percent increase, starting July 1.
Part-time firefighters and advanced EMTs will make $13.50 an hour, up from $11.05, a 22-percent raise.
The rate for part-time firefighters and paramedics went from $12 an hour to $15, a 25-percent hike.
“These folks … they do a lot,” said Trustee Dan Suttles. “They’re our insurance policy in a lot of ways. They deserve to make more money just by the fact of what they do, and then you compound it by what’s going on in other communities and the chief is right. Never used to be this way. It’s a competitive world in the fire and EMS just as it is in the private sector. It’s real hard to keep our people when you see the rate we’re paying them at.”
“We need it,” said Trustee Mark Ferrara. “The last thing we want is to have a call and no one show up. I don’t think we’re overpaying our people.”
“There’s no doubt that this is definitely needed,” Trustee Ron Haun said.
Masirovits asked that anyone who is interested in joining the department go to the township website at brookfieldtwp.org for more information.