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Stipends for GFD officers get nod from Village Board PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 December 2015 19:48

Plan calls for designated personnel to get extra pay for on-call, special training

Grafton Fire Department officers should receive financial compensation for being on-call and attending extra training sessions, the Village Board decided last week.

Concurring with a recommendation by Fire Chief William Rice, the board approved a plan to provide stipends for the officers, with the total not to exceed $7,500.

In a report to the board, Rice said officers eligible for stipends would only include  lieutenants, captains, a coordinator and the deputy chief.

Previously, officers were only paid for actual hours worked and attending scheduled training.

“These are small tokens of appreciation,” Rice told the board. “These officers do a little more than others.”

The stipends system, which was also recommended by the Public Safety Commission, calls for Rice to determine the amount officers will be paid.

Rice said the stipends were included in the department’s 2015 budget and would be based on attendance and participation.

Stipends are commonly used by fire departments in other communities as a way to reward volunteer officers, Rice told the board.

Trustee Lisa Harbeck, a member of the Public Safety Commission, said the stipends would be comparable to longevity pay currently received by village employees.

Also last week, the board approved on-call pay for emergency medical service volunteers.

Starting Jan. 1, on-call pay will be $4.17 per hour for paramedics and $2.09 per hour for emergency medical technicians and assistant EMTs.

However, the on-call pay will not be in addition to hourly pay the same personnel receives while responding to calls.

Rice said state law requires fire departments to have a paramedic and an EMT available for emergency medical calls. As a result, many departments face  staffing challenges, especially for night and weekend shifts, he added.

The hope, Rice said, is that providing on-call pay will help attract more qualified personnel and ensure constant coverage.

“It’s an effort to guarantee a good response,” he told the board.

The on-call pay will come out of part-time wages in the village’s 2016 budget.

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