Spartanburg Fire Chief requesting pay raise for firefighters, state firefighters association says it’s needed

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A show of support Monday night for the City of Spartanburg’s Fire Department. The chief there is requesting a pay raise for firefighters in next year’s budget. While no final decision has been made, leaders with the Professional Fire Fighters Association of SC told 7 News, the amount being discussed by city leaders is much lower than what’s needed.

It’s a job that comes with a lot of responsibility and gratitude.

“We had a fire nine years ago and it could have gone really, really bad the way the fire was set up and because of the leadership and training they had, they had it out fairly quickly and limited the damage,” said Owner of Delaney’s Irish Pub, Kevin Moore.

But firefighters with the City of Spartanburg told the Professional Fire Fighters Association of South Carolina, it doesn’t bring in enough money.

“If you’re willing to pay for them to train them, why aren’t you willing to pay for them to retain them?,” said Vice President of the Professional Fire Fighters Association of South Carolina, William Pesature.

William Pesature with South Carolina’s Professional Fire Fighters Association told 7 News, the City of Spartanburg Fire Department is losing firefighters to departments offering better pay.

“The turnover rate in this department is astronomical,” Pesature said.

Pesature told us, in 2020 the department lost 26% of their staff.

That’s why many firefighters attended the most recent city council meeting, Monday evening.

“This is a scale of experience, you guys are at 61% with five years or less,” Pesature said to Spartanburg City Council Monday evening.

Their chief requested a pay raise for next year’s budget. But leaders with the Professional Fire Fighters Association of SC said, the recommended 12% pay increase from city management is not enough.

“I’m a little embarrassed it had to be requested and council and the city hasn’t been a little more proactive in that,” said Councilwoman Erica Brown with the City of Spartanburg.

Council members said nothing is set in stone for next year’s budget.

“We want to make sure we’re staying ahead of the game and make sure we’re recruiting the best of the best,” Brown told 7 News.

Pesature said the change needs to be significant to keep their qualified hands on board.

“As a citizen, you would want the most experienced person in the world coming to your house, that’s how you’re going to get it,” Pesature told us.

The budget is being finalized now for next year. City Council will be making a final decision on it in the coming weeks.

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