Mayor Andre Dickens has reached an agreement with Atlanta firefighters to provide additional compensation to attract new recruits to the City and add a new tier with higher compensation for longer-tenured firefighters. The agreement will be submitted in the form of legislation for City Council’s consideration.
Fire Chief Roderick M. Smith told Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston in April that the department wants to hire more than 100 new firefighters so the department can be fully staffed again
“The women and men of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department put their lives on the line on behalf of Atlanta residents, and as Mayor I want to make sure they are fully supported,” said Mayor Dickens. “These increases will go a long way toward helping us recruit and train the best firefighters in the region as well as retain firefighters who have served our City for years. I thank Chief Smith and the leaders of the Atlanta Professional Fire Fighters for working with me as we charted this path forward.”
If City Council approves, AFRD personnel will see raises ranging from 7% to 15.5%, with the largest percentage increase targeted at recruits. Mayor Dickens is also directing the addition of a fifth tier of firefighter to better compensate longer-tenured firefighters. The increases add to the Mayor’s original budget proposal which already exceeded previous pay increase commitments and delivered them ahead of schedule.
Mayor Dickens has also directed a new Citywide pay and class study to be completed during the next fiscal year. That study will guide further compensation and staffing discussions for all City employees. The Dickens Administration is in continuing discussions with Atlanta Police Department officers about additional financial support in advance of that pay and class study which would allow the Department to continue to attract and retain the best police force in the country.
Mayor Dickens and his Administration have worked with the leadership of Atlanta Professional Firefighters as they considered these changes. APF President Nate Bailey wrote a letter to Mayor Dickens thanking him, writing in part:
“We are thankful and appreciate this year’s investment your administration is making in our firefighters. This investment will exceed any other single year raise in our history for the rank of firefighter…. The investment you and your administration are making will equal more than the last 3 years combined. With this investment and your administration conducting a new pay study, our firefighters know you are committed to them and moving Atlanta forward.”