Hobart council tables adjusting first-responders' pay

2013-04-17T22:38:00Z 2013-04-17T22:55:04Z Hobart council tables adjusting first-responders' payDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

HOBART | The Hobart City Council took a temporary pass on making adjustments to how the city's cross-trained firefighters are paid.

The council on Wednesday tabled taking a vote on an ordinance providing for adjustments to the pay of emergency medical technicians and paramedics.

The motion to table  was made by City Councilman P. Lino Maggio, D-3rd, and seconded by City Councilman Pete Mendez, D-2nd.

Mayor Brian Snedecor said he favored tabling the issue after speaking earlier in the week with Hobart Professional Firefighters Local 1641  President Tom Castle.

Snedecor suggested further conversations about ways to cut costs between the council's fire department subcommittee and Castle.

"We're open to suggestions from the union," Snedecor said.

Castle thanked the council for its move.

"Thanks for tabling the vote and letting the union give our side of it," Castle said.

Mendez said measures suggested in the proposed ordinance would only save $34,800.

"I'm more concerned about the $150,000 in overtime," Mendez said.

Maggio said city employees have been under a pay freeze for two years.

"To take away more money is not right," Maggio said.

The issue, which was discussed at the Ordinance Committee meeting April 3, involves payments to firefighters for work done during their shift, said City Councilman David Vinzant, D-4th.

Under the proposed ordinance, city firefighters would continue to receive base pay earned during their shift.

Those firefighters who go out on ambulance calls during that same shift would receive an additional premium as compensation for their paramedic/emergency medical technician duties, Vinzant said.

City Councilwoman Monica Wiley, D-at-large, was the only member voting against tabling the issue.

Wiley, who is against the ordinance, said she wanted to bring the issue out in the open.

"Other city departments, people are sitting in their chairs waiting for calls. Here we're worried about something important like the EMTs. ... They should not have to wait until they get called to get pay," Wiley said.

Snedecor said he's challenging every city department to cut costs.

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