EP councilman: Better pay makes for better care

EAST PALESTINE – The village needs more EMTs and Councilman Fran Figley believes that would happen if more money was on the table.

Council is already moving forward with a 2.5 percent across the board raise for non-union employees, which includes EMTs, and a first reading of that legislation was given at this week’s meeting.

But Figley believes the raise isn’t enough to draw interest in the position.

“They should be doubled,” he said of the hourly rates, noting that EMTs and paramedics endure things that most people cannot handle, and that is likely why it is difficult to retain them.

“It’s a dirty and rough job,” he said.

With the 2.5 percent increase factored in, EMTs hired after March 30 of 1992 will make $9.61 an hour on an entry level. Step 2 is set at $9.90, step 3 at $10.20 and step 4 at $10.51.

Those at step 2 must respond to at least 50 calls, with step 3 set at 100 calls and step 4 at 150 calls.

EMTs hired before March of 1992 will make $11.71 and hour on the increase.

Advanced EMTs wages were set at $10.80 for entry level positions, with step 2 at $11.13, step 3 at $11.13 and step 4 at $11.82 per hour.

Paramedics were set at $12.18 for entry level, with step 4 set at $13.30. Call response requirements are the same as EMTs.

Fire Chief Brett Todd said there are 16 part-time EMTs employed by the village and two part-time paramedics. There are no full-time positions currently.

The increase will take effect on April 27, pending final approval by council. Three readings of the legislation are required before a vote.

Village Manager Pete Monteleone said he would have Todd attend the next council meeting to discuss the pay scale and address Figley’s concerns.

In other business, council approved:

– Authorizing Monteleone to fill the part-time building inspector position.

– A second reading was given to legislation regarding the 2014 street resurfacing project, which includes Sugar Camp Drive, High Street, Leake Street, portions of Thomas Street, High Street, West Grant Street, East Street, Pleasant Drive, East Taggart, West Taggart, North Market, West Alley, West Main Street, Everett and Brookdale Avenue.

– An emergency resolution allowing for an Ohio Department of Transportation project on state Route 170 at the village limits. The project is in Unity Township and will not cost the village any money. It includes the installation of two culverts, rock excavation, slope embankment and pavement restoration.

– A utility committee meeting was set for 6:30 p.m. March 10.