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    Post Ohio firefighters go months without pay

    Ohio Firefighters Go Months Without Pay

    ............

    RICK ARMON
    Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio)



    Boston Heights firefighters are upset they haven't been paid in more than two months.

    Village officials say the small community isn't refusing to pay; it's just a matter of getting enough council members together to approve new pay legislation.

    "They are going to get paid," Fire Chief James Robinson said Monday. "It's not that they aren't going to get paid. The wheels are turning slowly."

    In the meantime, though, the 20 volunteer firefighters, who are paid per call, are irked, the chief admitted.
    The village this year reworked pay for employees. That included restructuring pay for different firefighting duties into one hourly rate, and increasing that rate to $12.60.

    The legislation also contained some controversial policy changes, such as paying firefighters for every 15 minutes when responding, instead of giving them at least a full hour.

    The fire chief said he and others failed to read the original legislation close enough to catch the differences.

    The six-member council has agreed to redo the legislation, and officials decided not to issue checks until council acted.

    The problem? There haven't been enough council members attending the June or July meetings to approve the legislation as an emergency.

    A special meeting has been called for July 28. A special meeting also was set for the end of June, but not enough members showed up.

    "We need to get this straightened out," Mayor Bill Goncy said.

    Councilwoman Janet Miller said she expects the legislation to be approved this month.

    The amount of money owed isn't a fortune, but firefighters are frustrated.

    "It's more or less the principle," said one firefighter, who asked that his name not be used. "At least pay us for the gas to get there and back."
    When I read the headline I thought they meant career firefighters. And I thought, man, that sucks. But some volunteers didn't get paid for a couple of months? Cry me a river...

    I haven't been paid in 20 years.....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Same here. Been a volly for 19+ years. Havn't been paid once. Where is my pay, dammit?

    And my Father has been a volly for 52 years (active for every one of those.) He hasn't gotten a paycheck either....Someone REALLY has some explaining to do to HIM!
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Yeah, the difference is, you guys knowingly volunteer your time. You were told from the outset that you aren't going to get paid. And, I have great respect for all the volunteers in this country who do this job pro bono (see my thread re: "A big thanks to all the volunteers")

    However, before I left Ohio (specifically, close to the area in question) I was a PT-POC EMT/FF for a Medina county suburb. So, we were told we'd be paid in 15 min increments for the calls we ran. And we were cool with that. But, we expected to be paid, as we were told. Just like our brothers in Boston Hts.

    Imagine volunteering for your department. If you promise to work 2 weekends a month and don't show for either, the department would have the right to feel cheated. So, I can see where they are coming from.

    Either way, NE Ohio is a really tough area to be in emergency services. That's why I got out of there.
    Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Same here. Been a volly for 19+ years. Havn't been paid once. Where is my pay, dammit?

    And my Father has been a volly for 52 years (active for every one of those.) He hasn't gotten a paycheck either....Someone REALLY has some explaining to do to HIM!
    The village mayor comes in and says "I've got some good news for you. We're giving you a raise.... How about 15% more!!!!"



    God Bless the Vollies
    (Brother, Sister, Brother-in-Law, his two brothers, Mom, Dad, and me)
    Originally Posted by madden01
    "and everyone is encouraged to use Plain, Spelled Out English. I thought this was covered in NIMS training."

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    If they're in that big of a hurry, pay them at the old rate. When they complain they aren't getting the higher rate, tell them tough, you wanted paid.

    I honestly can't see complaining because it's taking a little bit of time for a pay raise for a POC department. I could understand if it's your job that you rely on to pay the bills, but not a POC department, especially when they're trying to give the guys a raise.

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    Well, they aren't really volunteers. They are paid on call firefighters. They agreed to provide services for said compensation. I can see the gripe about not being paid for 2 months. You would want to be paid for your work right?

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    Sorry, not the same.

    Sure it sucks and is frustrating when you are a POC department, and yes you might depend on that money for some things, especially in the current economy.......HOWEVER....not the same as if it was their full time job.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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    Where I come from you can easily make $40,000 annually by working as a part time POC on some depts. I spent many years being a POC on 2 seperate depts and making $75,000 a year between the two. Some people do depend on paychecks and if you are suppossed to be paid you should get paid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by malana1 View Post
    Where I come from you can easily make $40,000 annually by working as a part time POC on some depts. I spent many years being a POC on 2 seperate depts and making $75,000 a year between the two. Some people do depend on paychecks and if you are suppossed to be paid you should get paid.
    Two things I see here. One, if you're relying on a vollie department for that kind of paycheck, especially if you're relying on it to pay bills, there's something wrong. If a department is paying POC staff that kind of money, it's time to be looking at career staff.

    How exactly does someone knock down that kind of pay on a POC department and maintain a full-time job?

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    I would put the blame here soley on council and city administration. If they cannot get a quorum of council members for 2 months running, something is seriously wrong or they're divided on the pay raise and trying to hold off as long as possible by interrupting the democratic process. Nothing on earth is worse than small town politics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    Two things I see here. One, if you're relying on a vollie department for that kind of paycheck, especially if you're relying on it to pay bills, there's something wrong. If a department is paying POC staff that kind of money, it's time to be looking at career staff.

    How exactly does someone knock down that kind of pay on a POC department and maintain a full-time job?
    My wife makes the REAL money and I was doing this because I wanted to, not out of necessity. I did not have a full time job. These depts had career people M-F during the day, but nights and weekends it was POC. I worked 12 hour shifts 5-6 nights a week. Once we had kids I had to cut back on hours. I am still a stay at home dad and still get all they shifts I care to work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    Two things I see here. One, if you're relying on a vollie department for that kind of paycheck, especially if you're relying on it to pay bills, there's something wrong. If a department is paying POC staff that kind of money, it's time to be looking at career staff.

    How exactly does someone knock down that kind of pay on a POC department and maintain a full-time job?
    I can see relying on it to pay bills. A salesman depends on commissions to pay bills as well.

    Of course the next thing is your comment about the career staff. Many industries are moving to a work at home or virtual work environment. They do this so they don't have to pay for office space. By having a paid on call system in place the department does not need to maintain sleeping quarters, a kitchen, and all the other things you find in a career house. They basically need a truck garage with perhaps one office. There are financial benefits to not having a full time career staff and only paying a person when they actually work.

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    Village officials say the small community isn't refusing to pay; it's just a matter of getting enough council members together to approve new pay legislation.
    I am sure that if the councilors get paid, they already have their money...
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    I am sure that if the councilors get paid, they already have their money...
    From what I can find, they're a community of just over 1,100 people. I'm betting they get paid very little, if they get paid at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by malana1 View Post
    My wife makes the REAL money and I was doing this because I wanted to, not out of necessity. I did not have a full time job. These depts had career people M-F during the day, but nights and weekends it was POC. I worked 12 hour shifts 5-6 nights a week. Once we had kids I had to cut back on hours. I am still a stay at home dad and still get all they shifts I care to work.
    I can understand that, and that's not what I'm talking about. If a check from a POC department is so important that you need it now, there's something screwed up in your budget or your priorities.

    The council is working on giving them a raise, I think I'd appreciate it and wait for them to get it done. If I were on the council, I'd recommend cutting their checks at the old pay if they need the checks so bad. Care to guess how much griping there'd be if they did just that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    I can see relying on it to pay bills. A salesman depends on commissions to pay bills as well.
    If you're relying on a part-time job to make the bills, either your budget or your priorities need some work. Go get a paying job that's steady and reliable. If you're doing it for side money, so be it. But don't go whining when something gets cut, or it's a slow month, and you can't make your bills.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    Of course the next thing is your comment about the career staff. Many industries are moving to a work at home or virtual work environment. They do this so they don't have to pay for office space. By having a paid on call system in place the department does not need to maintain sleeping quarters, a kitchen, and all the other things you find in a career house. They basically need a truck garage with perhaps one office. There are financial benefits to not having a full time career staff and only paying a person when they actually work.
    A POC department where the on-call/part-time firefighters are making $30K or more is taking advantage of those firefighters so that they don't have to pay the benefits of full-time firefighters. That's just like companies hiring temp staff. Once it gets to a certain point, the responsible thing is to start looking at career staff, or more career staff, whichever is appropriate. While I may not agree with the IAFF on all matters, this is one I don't think can be argued.

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    My department is POC for actual fires, but volunteer for training.

    I find it interesting that this community is trying to get rid of multiple pay rates and combine all of their POC people into one rate.

    We are in the opposite mode, we currently have 1 flat rate for everyone in the department no matter their training or years in service. We want to change to 1 base rate, and then offer raises to individuals based on their certifications. If I can't pay someone to go to FF2 training, I should at least be able to pay them $1/hr more than the person who didn't go. Same for EMT's, Instructors, Fire Officers, Etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    If you're relying on a part-time job to make the bills, either your budget or your priorities need some work. Go get a paying job that's steady and reliable. If you're doing it for side money, so be it. But don't go whining when something gets cut, or it's a slow month, and you can't make your bills.
    You don't get it. You live your life based on what you believe your income will be. So saying that on my worst month I get $1,000 for my POC job I plan my bills based on getting that pay. And like any real job,when that income disappears you are screwed!


    A POC department where the on-call/part-time firefighters are making $30K or more is taking advantage of those firefighters so that they don't have to pay the benefits of full-time firefighters. That's just like companies hiring temp staff. Once it gets to a certain point, the responsible thing is to start looking at career staff, or more career staff, whichever is appropriate. While I may not agree with the IAFF on all matters, this is one I don't think can be argued.
    If you are one of those supplementing you overly taxed income by doing this you think they are doing you a favor.
    Last edited by ScareCrow57; 07-15-2009 at 08:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    If you're relying on a part-time job to make the bills, either your budget or your priorities need some work.
    While it's possible for some to have their budget or priorities out of whack and causing financial problems, your assertion that relying on a part-time job to make the bills means this is the case is pretty much ridiculous.

    My family relies on my part-time job to pay our bills and our budget and priorities are not out of whack. The wages from my part-time job has allowed my wife to be a stay at home mom for the past (almost) 2 years now. We certainly couldn't afford to not get paid for several weeks.

    Now, I could see some issue with relying solely on an unpredictable income source, but to insinuate some sort of irresponsibility because a part-time job is an income source is way off base.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    You don't get it. You live your life based on what you believe your income will be. So saying that on my worst month I get $1,000 for my POC job I plan my bills based on getting that pay. And like any real job,when that income disappears you are screwed!

    If you are one of those supplementing you overly taxed income by doing this you think they are doing you a favor.
    Are we not talking about a "job" with a vollunteer fire department that pays $XX per hour or per call when you run a call? That is hardly a steady income to be basing your livelihood off of. The whole concept of the POC department, as I have always understood it, is not to make money for the members, but to help them pay for their fuel and wear and tear on their vehicles. If it's become a "job", then the department needs to be looking at hiring firefighters that are on the clock, not paid only when a call comes in.

    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    While it's possible for some to have their budget or priorities out of whack and causing financial problems, your assertion that relying on a part-time job to make the bills means this is the case is pretty much ridiculous.

    My family relies on my part-time job to pay our bills and our budget and priorities are not out of whack. The wages from my part-time job has allowed my wife to be a stay at home mom for the past (almost) 2 years now. We certainly couldn't afford to not get paid for several weeks.

    Now, I could see some issue with relying solely on an unpredictable income source, but to insinuate some sort of irresponsibility because a part-time job is an income source is way off base.
    I'm not talking about a part-time job, rather a "job" that pays based on whether or not you respond to a call. Believe me, I'm well acquainted with part-time or PRC work. I've done it my entire fire/EMS career, be it working PRN EMS, substitute teaching at the K-12, teaching through the state fire/rescue training institute, painting, construction, and a number of other things. And yes, I rely on it to pay some of my bills. But, I know how many shifts to expect each month and what kind of money it's going to bring in and budget for that amount (typically less to make sure there's plenty).

    However, if my vollie department started to pay per call, I would hardly figure that into my income due to the sporadic nature of call frequency in emergency services.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    If you're relying on a part-time job to make the bills, either your budget or your priorities need some work. Go get a paying job that's steady and reliable. If you're doing it for side money, so be it. But don't go whining when something gets cut, or it's a slow month, and you can't make your bills.



    A POC department where the on-call/part-time firefighters are making $30K or more is taking advantage of those firefighters so that they don't have to pay the benefits of full-time firefighters. That's just like companies hiring temp staff. Once it gets to a certain point, the responsible thing is to start looking at career staff, or more career staff, whichever is appropriate. While I may not agree with the IAFF on all matters, this is one I don't think can be argued.
    As part-time city employees we are eligable for benifits to include IPERS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    Are we not talking about a "job" with a vollunteer fire department that pays $XX per hour or per call when you run a call? That is hardly a steady income to be basing your livelihood off of. The whole concept of the POC department, as I have always understood it, is not to make money for the members, but to help them pay for their fuel and wear and tear on their vehicles. If it's become a "job", then the department needs to be looking at hiring firefighters that are on the clock, not paid only when a call comes in.



    I'm not talking about a part-time job, rather a "job" that pays based on whether or not you respond to a call. Believe me, I'm well acquainted with part-time or PRC work. I've done it my entire fire/EMS career, be it working PRN EMS, substitute teaching at the K-12, teaching through the state fire/rescue training institute, painting, construction, and a number of other things. And yes, I rely on it to pay some of my bills. But, I know how many shifts to expect each month and what kind of money it's going to bring in and budget for that amount (typically less to make sure there's plenty).

    However, if my vollie department started to pay per call, I would hardly figure that into my income due to the sporadic nature of call frequency in emergency services.

    We work shifts that are signed up for a month in advance. I can virtually guarantee how many I want. Pay is not based on how many calls are made. An entire shift could be worked without turning any wheels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    Are we not talking about a "job" with a vollunteer fire department that pays $XX per hour or per call when you run a call? That is hardly a steady income to be basing your livelihood off of. The whole concept of the POC department, as I have always understood it, is not to make money for the members, but to help them pay for their fuel and wear and tear on their vehicles. If it's become a "job", then the department needs to be looking at hiring firefighters that are on the clock, not paid only when a call comes in.



    I'm not talking about a part-time job, rather a "job" that pays based on whether or not you respond to a call. Believe me, I'm well acquainted with part-time or PRC work. I've done it my entire fire/EMS career, be it working PRN EMS, substitute teaching at the K-12, teaching through the state fire/rescue training institute, painting, construction, and a number of other things. And yes, I rely on it to pay some of my bills. But, I know how many shifts to expect each month and what kind of money it's going to bring in and budget for that amount (typically less to make sure there's plenty).

    However, if my vollie department started to pay per call, I would hardly figure that into my income due to the sporadic nature of call frequency in emergency services.
    malana1 stated
    Where I come from you can easily make $40,000 annually by working as a part time POC on some depts. I spent many years being a POC on 2 seperate depts and making $75,000 a year between the two. Some people do depend on paychecks and if you are suppossed to be paid you should get paid.
    I would call that a job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by malana1 View Post
    My wife makes the REAL money and I was doing this because I wanted to, not out of necessity. I did not have a full time job. These depts had career people M-F during the day, but nights and weekends it was POC. I worked 12 hour shifts 5-6 nights a week. Once we had kids I had to cut back on hours. I am still a stay at home dad and still get all they shifts I care to work.

    That's not the same as paid on call. You were signed up for duty shifts. Did you staff the station for free and only get paid when there was a call, or were you paid for the entire 12 hour shift? If that's the case, you were working 60-72 hours a week. That's a full time job, not paid on call.

    The guys in the article only get paid when they respond to a call. Big difference.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    I don't care if you differentiate part time pay for being present from POC which is part time, when called. The fact remains, its a job and the employees should be paid for the job they did.

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