Gautier Firefighters Agree To Pay Raise

Gautier Firefighters and city leaders have come to an agreement on pay, after almost a year of negotiations. Wednesday, city leaders and representatives for the fire fighters' union signed a contract that seems to have both parties satisfied.

"We didn't get everything we wanted but we do have a place to work from now. It's a step in the right direction," firefighter Keith Franks said.

"It basically raised the starting pay for our firefighters. It's about an eleven percent increase and personnel over ten years receive 24 hours of vacation per month," firefighter Marshall Robinson said.

City manager Don Pickard says paying firefighters more will actually save the city money.

"We put a lot of training money into hiring new firemen and turnover is a tremendous problem for us. It's a very expensive process to continue to lose those types of folks. I think it'll save the city money and I think it'll build morale," Pickard said.

But firefighters aren't the only people who will benefit from the new contract.

"Our firefighters will stay on longer and you get that experienced fire fighter showing up on your scene rather than somebody that's inexperienced," Franks said.

Police unions will vote on the city's contract proposal Friday. If they choose to accept, raises will go into effect for both unions in October.

by Josh Ridgdell