You get what you pay for at the Norwich Fire Department

NORWICH – Overtime issues at the City of Norwich Fire Department have been a concern in the past for city lawmakers, and the Director of Human Resources Deborah Deforest said concentrated efforts are being made to control them this year.

According to charts provided by Deforest that list salary, benefits and overtime for each fireman, the average cost to the city is $92,177 per worker. A large portion of that figure is due to the costs of health insurance and benefits. The charts show the regular average salary for the department is much less, averaging $52,443. Firemen made, on average, $12,410 in overtime in 2006.

City of Oneida Civil Service Executive Director Peg Margo said overtime is a concern for her city’s fire department as well. “Looking at the base salary and what the firemen actually make, there is always a big difference,” she said. While Margo didn’t have the number of hours of overtime her department worked in 2006, she did provide comparative information on the base salary for her department. Information provided by the Cities of Oneida and Oneonta showed that their firemen made a lower hourly rate than those in Norwich. Oneida firemen start at an hourly salary of $13.23 and Oneonta firemen start at an hourly rate of $11.43, while Norwich firemen in 2006 started at a base rate of $15.48. Margo explained that the difference may not be as great as it appears, because the firemen in Oneida’s department are paid extra stipends based on the training and certification they have received.

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