Pelham firefighters file complaint over pay practices

PELHAM, AL (WBRC) - A complaint filed in federal court accuses the city of Pelham of not properly paying its firefighters.

The city of Pelham has the option of compensating firefighters with time or pay, but the document alleges that is not being done. It says, for several years, firefighters have not received time or pay for overtime, sick time and vacation time.

The two count action accuses the city of Pelham of trying to strip firefighters of earned comp time at the end of the year and not allowing firefighters the opportunity to choose how they wish to use or "cash-in" their comp time.

According to the complaint, Pelham has scheduled its firefighters in such a way that they have accumulated more comp time than the city can realistically grant within a reasonable period.

The complaint seeks to recover unpaid overtime wages and class action status to benefit firefighters employed since 2003.

"We want the city to change its practices so that it's following the law," said Inge Johnstone, the attorney for the firefighters. "So that all firefighters in the city of Pelham are paid the wages they should be paid and that they're given the benefits that they should be given."

Pelham Fire Chief Danny Ray says he was not aware that the complaint had been filed and could not comment because he has not read over it.  
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