firefighter wages 002

Dawson County Dawson County Emergency Services personnel took up half of available seating at the July 2 County Commissioner meeting where commissioners addressed a catastrophic shortage of personnel. PHOTO BY DENISE RAY

Dawson BOC gives EMS department a raise

Paychecks increase during current pay period

UPDATE July 3, 6:30am

By Denise Ray This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dawson County Board of Commissioners voted to give salary increases to the county’s Emergency Services department in its July 2 voting session.

The unanimous vote came after a motion by District 3 Commissioner Tim Satterfield and a second by District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines.

Commissioners voted to give a five percent increase for each firefighter/EMT and 10 percent for firefighter/paramedic that becomes effective in the current pay period which started June 29.

Director Danny Thompson told county commissioners June 20 that his department is nearing a catastrophic situation regarding its 11 percent attrition rate.

According to Thompson the attrition rate—also known as the rate of employee turnover—for the emergency services department is 2.5 times the national average of fire departments across the country.

In the last year, Dawson County EMS has lost 12 personnel to other fire departments or hospitals due to money Thompson said.

“I need you to stand up and do the right thing for these men and women,” Thompson told county officials.

He pointed out that Dawson currently pays firefighter/paramedic anywhere from $10,000 to $16,000 less than neighboring counties.

Openings for firefighter/paramedic have been posted on the county website for over a year and in order to fill those positions, standards have been lowered—hiring firefighter/EMTs instead of firefighters/paramedics in an attempt to fill the positions.

Thompson offered three possible solutions to commissioners including one that would have provided a 10 percent across the board increase for all personnel, a five percent increase for each firefighter/EMT and 10 percent for firefighter/paramedic and a third option of providing all paramedics with an annual reoccurring $7,500 incentive. 

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