LEE CO., GA (WALB) - Lee County Public Safety workers are going to see some big changes in their jobs in the coming months.
The county commission voted to approve a new schedule for all fire and EMS employees and the base salary pay will increase for new employees.
It's a change people working behind these sounds will feel directly, but a change in the future, county leaders think will benefit the whole county.
"We don't expect everything to run smooth right off the bat there, but our intent is to try and do the right thing not only for our employees but for our citizens as well," said co-county manager Mike Sistrunk.
The first change citizens can expect to see is a name change. All of the five stations will soon be referred to as 'Fire and Emergency Services of Lee County.'
"The public safety position is being removed, and that's why we changed the name from public safety, and it will be up under the fire chief," said Sistrunk.
Starting February 13th Interim Fire Chief David Forrester will oversee all Fire and EMS. The second change will impact paramedics. They'll now be taking the same schedule as firefighters and EMTs. All will now work a 24 hours followed by 48 hours off.
"As it is right now because they are 24-72, there's a lot of overtime involved, but it also takes more people and creates a shortage for us. We're short on paramedics right now," explained Sistrunk.
With the new schedule change the number of paramedic shifts will cut down from 6 shifts to 3, meaning there will be no shortage of paramedics.
"The problem of it is it effects some of the employees that are full time here and full time at other places as well. They are going to have to decide on where the full time and where the part-time position is," said Sistrunk.
That brings us to the final change, pay. Commissioners have decided to increase the base salary for all employees. For some that means an increase of about $2 an hour.
Here is the breakdown of the new hourly rates:
- EMT-A: $13.96
- EMT-B: $13.46
- Paramedic: $14.96
- Firefighter: $13.96
"We think by doing this base raise this will encourage them to let them know we want our folks here. We want this to be home to our employees," explained Sistrunk.
Sistrunk and other county officials will be meeting with the employees who this directly impacts in the coming days.