Study finds Chattanooga Fire Department starting salary $10.58 an hour

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CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee- Last November, the Chattanooga Fire Department received the final word from a payroll study. The study found the C.F.D. is paid significantly less than cities like Huntsville, Memphis, and Nashville.

Chattanooga Fire Fighters Association’s President Jack Thompson said the starting salary of a Chattanooga Firefighter is $33,039 a year.

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A firefighter works 3,120 hours per year, which works out to $10.58 an hour.

“Everybody who came to this job came to this job for a sense of giving back to the community to be able to take care of their community and serve their city we believe that a proper wage should be for that,” said Thompson.

“We we’re not able to offer pay raises to our employees this year due to the extreme tax restrictions of Covid,” said Mayor Andy Berke

Chattanooga city officials could have a pay raise to $12.60 an hour due to the Federal Poverty Rate, but firefighters are not included.

“And I certainly understand why any employee of the city government would feel that way but, we also know our tax revenues are down and we have to live within our budget,” said Berke.

“We have lost, since 2015, 43 firefighters we have lost firefighters to the city of Memphis cities like Nashville, and a Red Bank just up the road from us those extreme more money than we do,” said Thompson.

C.F.D. starting salary is $18,000 less than Memphis and $13,000 less than Nashville. Thompson said even though the pay study was completed almost a year ago, the C.F.D. has been waiting to bring the up issue due to the pandemic and tornado damage.