After originally tabling legislation introduced at the April 5 New Franklin City Council meeting about increasing hourly pay for city part-time police officers and firefighter/paramedics, council unanimously approved both resolutions during the June 21 meeting.
"It’s time (to be in line) with neighboring communities," said New Franklin Mayor Al Bollas. "We don’t want to jeopardize the (fire/EMS) department we have."
Council President David Stock agreed and said the city can’t keep losing good applicants to Canal Fulton and other communities.
In April, the two resolutions were introduced and at that meeting and supported by New Franklin Fire Chief Steve Leslie and New Franklin Police Chief Dan Davidson. Council took no action due to financial reasons and tabled the legislation for three months. Councilman Jim Cotts said that council agreed to wait until it could approve both rsolutions at the same time. Treasurer Susan Cooke, at that time, advised against approving the increase for the police department until she began receiving new funds from the city’s recent 1 percent income tax increase.
New Franklin Fire Chief Steve Leslie made the request because he said prospects for the firefighter/paramedic jobs are turning down offers when he tells them the current starting pay (probationary for one year) is $9.77 per hour. The department has not increased the hourly wage for part-time employee since 2009. With approval of the resolution, the new hourly rate for part-time firefighter/paramedics for probationary will be $12 and that the overtime hourly rate will be $18.
Leslie spoke at the June 21 meeting and confirmed he budgeted for the increase which he estimates will cost an additional $16,000 per year.
"I usually have a part-time roster of 20, and currently I have 13. I would like to get it up to 30," Leslie said.
Leslie explained that with the new rate he will be able to keep part-time firefighters/paramedics who go to neighboring communities because the hourly rate is higher. For Level II firefighters/paramedics, the current hourly rate is $13.86, and the new rate will be $14.75 and the overtime rate will be $22.12 per hour.
Davidson made his request April 5 at the first reading of the resolution to increase the part-time police officer rate (probationary status) from $8.10 to $12 per hour. He noted also that part-time police officers’ hourly rate has not been increased since 2009.
He also wanted his officers hourly wage to be in line with other communities to be competitive. He estimated the part-time officer would work three days a week and 32 hours.
Davidson explained that part-time police officers can only be employed by one city, township or village. Dual employment is not allowed due to jurisdiction. With the new resolution in place, a part-time police officer in training with earn $12 per hour. Then, when an officer in a probationary status with training complete, he will earn $15 per hour. Then after one year, that officer will earn $16 per hour and after two years, he will earn $17 per hour. Davidson said the department has 13 full time police officers and eight part-time officers. He said he would like to hire two additional part-time officers.
"We were training an officer, then he would go to another department," Davidson said.
He estimates the hourly increase will cost an additional $400 to $500 per month.
"With the receipt of the increased two percent city income tax funds, it was intended to help fund the police department," Davidson said.