Lynne Hermansen
Salary raises were approved for Fire District 1 of Johnson County at the June 14 board meeting starting July 1.
Chief Dennis Meyers said the equalization of pay was long overdue and are included in the 2023 budget after hours of work.
“We started digging in and found fallacies,” he said.  “We aren’t totally ripping off a bandaid but hopefully it is fixed for the last time. We think it is a great pay plan with step increases that are beneficial for the whole department.”
Captain Aaron Winkler said the financial impact is $89,000 for the rest of the year with increases based on years of service in a position.
“How long does it take to reach top pay,” he said. “Years of service. Most departments are in the 10 to 12 year range.”
Winkler said a $2,000 increase each year will occur for the first five years starting with a $44,000 a year salary and year six a person will be considered a master firefighter if they meet all the requirements and will start over at year one with a $60,000 a year salary.
“The thirteenth year they will be at topped out pay,” he said.
Meyers said did they have the capacity in the budget to make corrections.
Randy Gregoryck, board chair, said were the premiums not higher based on salaries. Winkler said they were not.
Meyers said they saw discrepancies between positions.
Ron Conus, board member, said that it was almost a five percent increase in payroll costs.
“So we are talking almost $300,000 for the year,” he said.
Winkler said yes for both District 2 and them.
“It is a little over 10, 5 and 4 percent depending on the position,”he said.
Conus said he didn’t know if they had the money for the five percent jump.
Gregoryck said they were just shy of five percent.
David Wolff, firefighter, said he wanted to thank them for adjusting the pay plan.
Meyers said employees are their best asset.
“I think it is time to invest,”he said.