Council rejects wage increase for St. Croix EMS paramedics on 4-3 vote
The council on a 4-3 voted denied St. Croix EMS Chief Kim Eby’s appeal for a raise of 14 cents per hour for the ambulance service’s four full-time paramedics.
The increase would have been in addition to the 2 percent raise for all city employees included in the 2014 budget.
Eby said the increase to $19 per hour is needed to give the paramedics a wage comparable to what paramedics for neighboring ambulance services earn.
Mayor Alan Burchill said it was late in the budget cycle for Eby to be asking for the wage increase.
“There isn’t a department chair in this city that doesn’t think their employees should have more money,” the mayor added during a Finance Committee discussion of the request.
The Finance Committee deadlocked 2-2 on the issue, with Alderperson Lori Bernard also opposing the raise.
Council President Rich Vanselow and Alderperson Randy Morrissette II supported it.
Vanselow said he didn’t have a problem with setting a proper base for paramedic pay.
Morrissette noted that there is money for the increase (a total of $1,400 over a year’s time) in the St. Croix EMS budget. The ambulance service generates its own revenue, Morrissette added.
The full council also was evenly divided on the issue, with alderpersons Bernard, Mary Yacoub and Kurt TeWinkel opposing the pay increase and Vanselow, Morrissette and John Hoggatt voting for it.Mayor Burchill’s opposing vote broke the tie.