County OKs increased pay for EMS

WINNSBORO – After asking his fellow councilmen to defer a vote on salary increases for the County’s Emergency Services employees last month, Councilman Neil Robinson was quick to reverse course when the item came up on Monday night’s Council agenda.

As Emergency Services Director Mike Tanner began a repeat of his appeal last month for salary increases, Robinson interrupted him.

“Mr. Tanner, I think due diligence has already been done, and I would like to make a motion to go ahead and approve EMS for the raises you are asking for,” Robinson said.

“Second,” Councilman Jim Ray Doulas jumped in.

With no discussion other than Councilwoman Bertha Goins’ praise for the EMS’s service to the County and a clarification requested by Councilman Douglas Pauley regarding overtime pay, Council voted 7-0 for the salary increase request.

Tanner had requested the increase in salaries after Richland County offered a 10 percent pay raise for its EMT’s and paramedics, immediately opened eight new positions and budgeted for 48 new positions next budget year with a $2.5 million budget increase for equipment and supplies. Tanner said the potential draw of that offering on Fairfield County emergency services employees is putting the county at risk.

“Starting pay for Richland’s new paramedics is 19 percent higher than Fairfield’s,” Tanner said, “even with last year’s increase. Our employees work 14 hours a week more and make $19 a week less than those in Richland and Lexington Counties.”

County Administrator Jason Taylor said the overall increase would cost the county $357,000 annually.

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