Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Comment about Firefighters Being Overpaid Sparks Outcry

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Comment about Firefighters Being Overpaid Sparks Outcry

Article excerpt

Union employees of Chesterfield Fire Protection District are "ludicrously overpaid," the board president wrote in a memo to fellow directors.

In fact, says board president Mark Slaten, "It would be my contention that the entire firefighting profession is overpaid, but we're not in a position to do anything about that."

Slaten goes on to say, "Our staff personnel are even more ludicrously overpaid."

The memo was written in late November, during salary discussions of district employees.

The inflammatory communique has raised the hackles of district firefighters as well as several area chiefs. They contend that the memo shows the writer's disdain.

In his letter, Slaten writes, "It's a revolutionary and somewhat exotic notion at C.F.P.D. to actually earn higher compensation." He continued that "today's system rewards intellectual sloth."

Chief Craig Tetley of the Mid-County Fire Protection District said he couldn't disagree more about salaries.

Privates at Mid-County start at a base salary of $29,000, and after seven years can make as much as $39,000, depending on how much overtime they work.

Base pay for a beginning firefighter in Chesterfield is $30,894; after three years' probation, the firefighter makes $40,394.

Fire professionals say that salary comparisons are tricky, since benefits and incentives vary so much from district to district.

Metro West's Chief Jim Silvernail said firefighters were not overpaid and Slaten doesn't understand the anguish associated with the work. …

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