Winston-Salem police and firefighters would receive a raise under the proposed budget for the new fiscal year. But the different departments won't see equal pay bumps.
Police officers and firefighters would see a bigger salary increase to help with recruitment and retention. It would also create new promotional positions to provide a career ladder for both departments. As of now, police officers would see a raise anywhere from 4% to 14% based on years of service. But firefighters would cap out at 10%.
President of the Winston-Salem Professional Firefighters Association Doug Simmons says he appreciates the city's efforts to raise compensation but urged City Council to treat them and the police officers equally.
“We are losing firefighters just as fast as we are losing police officers," says Simmons. "And we don't want that experience to walk out the door. If many of you remember the Weaver fire back in January, the only reason that that did not turn out to be one of the deadliest incidents in this city's history is because of the experienced people that were on the ground making spur of the moment decisions.”
According to city officials, there are currently 186 vacant positions in the police department and 24 job vacancies in the fire department.
Winston-Salem City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on the budget on June 21.
Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news