Robert E. Lee writes:

Can you step away from the theoretical, think tank generalities, and address the firefighter situation in particular? “


ms wrote:

“Erik, you are wrong. The Mayor’s compensation policy, based on “market conditions” is totally inappropriate when dealing with those that provide for the public’s safety. I want to keep the firefighters who have worked in our neighborhoods for years, know how to get through the maze of neighborhood streets in the most efficient manner to save the life of you or a loved one. Apply the Mayor’s policy to yourself – I’m sure people will line up to take your job at half the price – guess you shouldn’t get a raise until you quit or nobody wants the job.”

Regarding Robert’s point – I agree with the mayor’s position. There is scant sign that the firefighters are suffering from a retention and recruitment problem.

When 1,500 applicants sign up to take a written test during a period of low unemployment, that is a pretty good sign that one is providing wages and benefits that are adequate to attract enough applicants. We don’t advocate at SDI but I hope that the Council strongly considers market signals when considering the pay increase at today’s council meeting.

To ms:

The problem with your logic is that there is no reason to stop at firefighters. What about nurses, doctors, teachers, school bus drivers, sanitation workers, water employees, food safety inspectors (for that matter farm workers)?

I can make an argument that ALL of those professions also provide for the public’s safety and health. It is a slippery slope to ignore market forces and make a determination of wages based upon personal feelings and normative judgments. Since people bring different perspectives to that debate, soon the only way to resolve it is through the exertion of raw political power.


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