Thorsby Council reduces pay plan

Published 11:16 pm Monday, August 4, 2008

Thorsby’s Town Council last night agreed to reduce a previously passed pay plan for existing and soon-to-be-hired firemen as part of a Staffing of Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) federal grant.

The council took the action following a discussion with town employees who questioned the fire department pay increase.

Police Chief Ed Prady questioned the council’s July 21 motion that would pay some limited part-time firefighter-emergency medical technicians more per hour than it pays part-time police officers. Chief Prady praised the fire department for doing an “excellent job and acting professionally.”

But he said he did not believe it was fair for some of the part-time firemen to be paid more than part-time officers who work every day.

Terry Jackson said he wanted to speak up for his Public Works Department workers. “If there is a pie out there,” he said, “I want to work to see my people get a piece of it.”

Fire Chief Lee Gunn said the department recommended the pay scale at the council’s last meeting to provide “fair pay” for the positions. He explained that the highest proposed rate of pay under the plan would have been $13.69 per hour (for a lieutenant grade, certified firefighter and licensed EMT who would work one eight-hour shift a week).

Mayor Tom Bentley explained the council accepted the fire department’s recommended pay suggestions in order to act on the SAFER fire grant before it expired. When asked, Chief Gunn said he believed the city could set a lesser pay amount and still keep the grant.

Bentley called for a motion to amend the July 21 meeting motion by setting the proposed wage for the proposed firemen at $10.87 per hour, an amount equivalent to what is paid part-time police officers. The motion was made and passed unanimously.

Bentley said the town could now work to move the grant forward.

In other business, the council voted to purchase advertisements in the Kiwanis Chilton County Fair publication and The Clanton Advertiser’s Football Edition. It approved the renewal of a certificate on deposit with Peoples Southern Bank and agreed to pay its dues to the Alabama League of Municipalities.

Bentley said the plan to upgrade the safety of railroad crossings in town limits was making progress. He said he and State Rep. Jimmy Martin met with state highway officials and were told the project was still a high priority.