The Bradley County Fire Board reaffirmed its support for an incentive pay plan for its personnel during its meeting Tuesday night.
The plan, proposed by Chief Troy Maney last month, would add an extra amount of pay each month, depending on the levels of certification achieved.
At the maximum, a firefighter could gain as much as an extra $4,200 each year for a total cost of $48,782.
Maney presented the plan out of concern over losing personnel to other entities and companies who offer better pay, which also costs the county through the loss of training for which it has paid.
The proposal was tabled by the Commission Finance Committee earlier this month after Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis expressed his concern such a plan would cause a drain on the department’s cash flow.
Maney said he had met with County Finance Director Lynn Burns Tuesday afternoon who reiterated that “we don’t have the money.”
Maney said Davis told him he would prefer a plan that would give all personnel a bonus using the same amount and splitting it up between the 62 firefighters.
Board members were unanimous in their preference for the incentive plan as it would cause personnel to seek to continuously better themselves and could help to retain personnel.
Maney reported two firefighters had left for other positions this week, but said he could not be positive about whether the plan would have kept them here.
The board instructed Maney to keep the incentive plan on the table, and to be ready to put it into action if the budget opens up later in the year. He was advised to do so in a way that would allow it and then begin the budgeting process for next year, planning to make it a permanent fixture in the department’s pay plan.
Maney also announced a countywide open house would be held Oct. 10.
Promotion for the event will be assisted by the Muscular Dystrophy Association for whom the department will be fundraising prior to the event.
Maney said citizens will be able to request smoke detectors at the open houses which will be provided for free.
“We will also go to their residences and install them,” Maney said.
He also said he feels the department is having “great working relations” with Sheriff-elect Eric Watson and sees a productive and positive working relationship with the new administration.