Maine EMTs Frustrated over Back Pay Issue

The EMS chief told EMTs the new pay rates would start July 1, a month and a half before the council voted on the changes


 
 

Mario Moretto, Bangor Daily News | | Monday, September 24, 2012


BUCKSPORT, Maine -- EMTs who thought they would receive back pay for time on the job between July 1 and Aug. 31 after a Bucksport Town Council meeting last week had another thing coming.

Councilors on Sept. 13 approved new pay rates and scheduling procedures by a 3-2 vote. Fire and EMS Chief Craig Bowden told the EMTs the new pay rates would start July 1, a month and a half before the council ultimately voted on the changes.

Bowden took responsibility for the mistake, but told councilors his employees shouldn't suffer for his mistake. Now, the vote will have to be conducted again after the town checked its rules and saw that a simple majority of present councilors doesn't always result in a proposal's approval.

"We need four positive votes to pass [a resolve]," said Town Manager Mike Brennan on Friday. "It's not simply the majority of a quorum."

The council first took up the question at its Aug. 23 meeting, but tabled it until the next meeting. At least one emergency worker said he's getting tired of the back-and-forth about back pay.

"People keep saying that the EMTs acted in good faith, that they'd get this money," said EMT Intermediate Mike Sealy.

Sealy said he believes Bowden made an honest mistake, that the chief believed he had the council's go-ahead to start operating under the proposed rules. Sealy said he's owed between $650 and $700 in back-pay under the new pay scale -- money he was told last week he would receive.

He's upset that the council seemingly approved the pay last week only to find out its own vote was invalid.

"I'm just getting tired of expecting something to happen and it not happening," he said. "Once we found out last week it was approved, that was going to fill my oil tank for the first bill. Now I'm gonna have to wait until October."

Councilors Byron Vinton III and Joel Wardwell were absent at the Sept. 13 meeting, and their votes take on a new importance. If they vote against the back pay provision, that means Bucksport's EMTs will be out the $5,330 they thought was coming.

Reached Friday for comment, Vinton said he hasn't decided how he will vote on the new rules and back pay.

"I listened to the tape from the last meeting," he said. "I'm maintaining my neutrality at this point because I want to hear everything before I vote. I don't like to make up my mind ahead of time."

Wardwell was unreachable on Friday afternoon.

The Town Council will again take up the EMT back pay issue at its Sept. 27 meeting.



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, back pay, pay increase

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Abilene Loses Helicopter Service

Native Air leaves city with only one air helicopter service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan

Staffing change will leave immediate neighborhood without fire apparatus.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

FDIC 2014 CHAT: MIKE MCEVOY AND A.J. HEIGHTMAN

Mike McEvoy and A.J. Heightman discuss some new EMS technology at FDIC 2014.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Lieutenant in Patient Death May Go Unpunished

Family upset that officer in charge may retire without any discipline.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >