City Councilors feeling confident in firefighter pay cut solution

By Ashley Nix

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham city councilors think they have a solution to fix the "pay cut problem" for firefighters.  But the members of the fire department are livid about a plan that in the end would cut their pay.  

On Wednesday, members of the city's Public Safety Committee met to sort through the problem.  Councilor Johnathan Austin says firefighters have been overpaid for 2 years because a previous mayor increased their pay without getting approval in 2008.  Councilors say an entry level firefighters pay should be brought down from $17 per hour to $13 per hour.  

Firefighters do not agree.  They say if the council cuts their pay, it will affect their family's lives severely.  Attorneys representing the union say firefighters should be paid for every hour they work, and they work more hours than a regular 40-hour employee.   One firefighter FOX 6 spoke with had this to say about how the cuts will affect him.  "We lost our house payment, our daycare payments.  My wife will have to quit her job to keep our kids.  Half of our department is in trouble.  I don't know what we will do.  2 weeks, maybe it's a mistake.  3 weeks, maybe it's a mistake.  2 years down the road, this is not a mistake."

The full council will vote on the plan Tuesday.  Firefighters fear morale in the department will be severely affected by what might happen.

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