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Homewood Firefighter Association calls for cost of living adjustment amid dozens of resignations; has meeting with mayor

WBRC Firefighter cost of living
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 10:41 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2022 at 8:32 PM CDT
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HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE: Mayor Patrick McClusky sent this statement to WBRC after a meeting with the Homewood Firefighter Association president on April 28:

“I had a good meeting with the Homewood Fire Fighters Association President (Mark Robison) today, and he outlined the compensation concerns of the organization. We had a long conversation about the different steps that can be taken in order to help relieve some of the issues that they are seeing within the Association membership. Together, we are working on a plan that will bring their total compensation up over time. We agreed that their needs will be best addressed in the new budget cycle, beginning in October. Mark and I will be meeting with Chief Hill soon to start the process of looking at ways to make the necessary changes and help the employees. There are a lot of moving parts, but as always, I’m more than happy to sit down and have these discussions in order to benefit our employees.”

ORIGINAL: The Homewood Firefighters Association demanded more money from city leaders as inflation outpaced raises, according to the union.

President of the Homewood Firefighters Association Mark Robison fired off a letter to Homewood residents calling for them to encourage city leaders to approve cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) raises.

Robison said the issue had been put off for far too long.

“For the past 15 years, since 2007, Homewood has received 11.8% in cost-of-living adjustments. In that same 15 year span, inflation has been about 33%. So we are significantly behind,” Robison said.

The association claims the city was increasingly losing first responders to neighboring cities due to low pay and high insurance premiums.

Robison claims the department has lost more than 30 employees in the past two years; only eight of them were to retirement.

”Homewood was the most sought after a fire department. It was kind of a privilege to be a Homewood fireman,” Robison recalled.

However, Robison said that had changed along with the quality of applicants. Robison said many new applicants lack certifications and training.

He said their requests to the city of Homewood for cost of living adjustments over the years were always delayed but Robison said personnel could not wait any longer.

”Right now, we would like to open line of communication. A sit down with the council and the Mayor, to formulate a package. I understand we have to be realistic in what we ask,” Robison said.

Mayor Patrick McClusky sent WBRC this statement: “We are setting up meetings with the Association President and the Fire Chief about salary inquiry. This discussion will be held to figure out what can be done, and how to include it in next fiscal years budget in October. We begin the budget discussions in the summer, and this will be a topic of those discussions with my Department Heads, as any COLA that is given will be for all city employees.”

The association confirmed they have spoken to Mayor McClusky and plan to setup a meeting soon.

We’ll keep you updated.

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