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Commissioner Williams Proposed Restructured Pay Scale For Emergency Services

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Commissioner Williams Proposed Restructured Pay Scale For Emergency Services

Putnam County Commissioner Jonathan Williams said he would like to see pay raises for emergency services in the upcoming budget.

Williams shared a 10 to 12 year pay scale proposal to the county’s budget committee. Williams said the county’s pay has fallen behind compared to others in the region.

“There’s another aspect to everything we’re voting on this year that I think is of the utmost importance,” Williams said. “It’s a crisis that is not yet an emergency, but if we don’t take bold and dramatic action this year, it’s going to become an emergency.”

Williams said he took the existing pay scale that tops out at 20 years and changed it to 10 years. This would come out to about a $10,000 raise for most emergency employees including the Sheriff’s Office, EMS, Fire and so on. Williams said the plan if adopted would cost about $3 million.

“Somebody may say well why would we do that for emergency personnel and not for everybody else,” Williams said. “Well, 10-year top out is not uncommon in emergency services. You go to work for Highway Patrol you reach the top of the pay scale in 10 years unless you get promoted.”

As the budget is proposed today, the county anticipates about a $4.5 million shortfall not including the $3 million proposal by Williams.

Williams said if passed, Putnam County would be competitive with neighboring counties. At the same time, Williams said the move could help with recruiting efforts as several positions remain open.

Williams gave Wilson County as an example of other counties increasing wages. Williams said the agency is proposing a budget that would increase pay to almost $70,000.

“The other night I watched a live stream of the WEMA (Wilson County Emergency Management Agency) Budget Committee,” Williams said. “Their director specifically said I have medics from other counties, and he mentioned Putnam County specifically who are getting ready to leave where they are and come work for us if we pass this.”


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