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Supporting our First Responders

     To say I respect Raleigh's finest and bravest is an understatement. I can never thank them enough for their dangerous and much needed profession. After meeting with multiple firefighters and police officers, this city needs to realize their struggle. In 2017 both departments received raises for its employees, but that just led to more problems. There are even members of the RFD that also serve in the US Military like I do. In fact, two serve in the same building as I do. The city only allows them to take vacation time or leave without pay during required military service.

     Regarding the RFD, the city changed its pay scale to a "step program." The step program has received praises and shuns from the RFD alike for being a good program, just bad implementation. The current system sets a lot of firefighters back by not taking in time in service (TIS), but rather time grade (TIG). When the step program was implemented, firefighters of the same rank were all reset to the first "step" of that rank. What this means is that regardless of how long they have been in the fire department, everyone had to start over in their rank on the pay scale. For many, this wasn't a problem. For everyone else that had been serving for quite some time, this meant that by the time they retired, they would not receive the max out their pay.

     An example being this, you have 2 Captains with different amounts of time as a firefighter. Firefighter A has been in the RFD for 25 years, Firefighter B has been in the RFD for 20 years. Let’s also consider that the city of Raleigh decided to say that those with 30 years of service, as opposed the RPD's 25, can retire. Firefighters A & B have been reset to the first step of the Captains pay step. Firefighter A has only 5 years left before retirement and can only advance so far on the pay scale. Meanwhile, Firefighter B has 10 years left until retirement and will overtake FF A on pay well before FF B retires. This is an easy fix and only requires the city to take into account the TIS as well as the TIG for each Firefighter. This should have been done in the first place and would allow our Firefighters to be paid properly and would reduce the immense amount of stress that these brave people are under. They are constantly worked and worked and worked, they deserve a proper pay and benefits.

These are the changes I would push for if elected to the city council:

  1. Change the Step Program to account for Time in Service as well as Time in Grade. This would ensure each RFD member would receive the appropriate pay for the length of time they have been in the RFD as well as how long they have been in the rank.
  2. Allow 140 hours of "Military Leave." This would only be offered to those that currently serve in the military.
  3. Change the minimum time to retire of 30 years to match the police department's 25 years.
  4. Institute a cost of living adjustment (1-2% each year) to account for inflation and stagnant pay for both the RFD and RPD.

If you see anything you would like me to change or add onto this list for the RFD & RPD, please contact me immediately and I'll amend my list.

Committee to Elect James Bledsoe
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