Pascagoula Police And Fire Employees Get A Pay Raise - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pascagoula Police And Fire Employees Get A Pay Raise

For the past year, long hours and personnel losses are taking a toll on Pascagoula's first responders. The city is down five police officers and four fire fighters. 

"We have lost a few guys that took jobs in the area. I don't think anybody moved out of town because of the hurricane, but we did lose people to local industry," says Fire Captain Chris Taylor.

Fire Captain Chris Taylor says firefighters are working overtime to make up for the vacancies. 

"Losing people who are trained is always tough on us. We hated to see those guys go."

Recruiting new firefighters has been difficult. Taylor says few applications have come in. He hopes the city's decision to boost starting pay for firefighters will help fill those empty slots.

"I think if you have more people to choose from, you get a higher caliber of persons, and that is what we are looking for."

Pascagoula Human Resources Manager Laura McCool agrees that city wages must stay competitive with businesses in town.

"When you have local industries, even the fast food market that is paying a $1,000 sign on bonus, it is hard to compete with.  So I think we will do what we have to do to keep our employees."

Besides the $2,000 pay raise for beginning employees, Pascagoula officials have also decreased the time in which current fire and police department employees can top out in pay.

"If they pass their evaluation, they will receive a 4.5 percent increase," says McCool.

 And that pay increase, Taylor says, will increase the morale of the firefighters and officers who serve the community everyday.

The pay raises for new fire and police department employees will start October 1st. The city is also offering tuition assistance for those workers intrested in earning a college degree.

By Patrice Clark

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