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Local firefighter pay at issue

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Though Mayor John Suthers proposes a 2 percent pay raise for firefighters, it won't keep salaries competitive in the region, according to the Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 5.

Local 5 has been pounding the drum for more money to draw attention to pay rates but has no collective bargaining power to leverage higher pay. The proposed increase, Local 5 president Justin Koch notes in an email, "will leave the Colorado Springs Firefighters as the lowest paid as compared to our network departments along the Front Range."

Various ranks' pay is generally 4 percent to 7 percent below comparable departments, according to a detailed compensation comparison provided by Local 5. The department, he says, "has not seen large numbers of our members leaving yet, but it could be reality if this type of pay is continued."

In an interview, Koch acknowledged budget constraints and that the 2017 budget will fund full staffing of the new Fire Station 22, as well as a major overhaul of downtown Fire Station 1.

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