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Supporting our First Responders

     To say I respect Raleigh's finest and bravest is an understatement. I can never thank them enough for their dangerous and much needed profession. After meeting with multiple firefighters and police officers, this city needs to realize their struggle. In 2017 both departments received raises for its employees, but recently they have been walked back. There are even members of the RFD that also serve in the US Military like I do. In fact, several serve in the same unit as I do.

     Regarding the RFD, the city changed its pay scale to a "step program." The step program has received praises and shuns from the RFD alike for being a good program, just bad implementation. The current system sets a lot of firefighters back by not taking in time in service (TIS), but rather time grade (TIG). When the step program was implemented, firefighters of the same rank were all reset to the first "step" of that rank. What this means is that regardless of how long they have been in the fire department, everyone had to start over in their rank on the pay scale. For many, this wasn't a problem. For everyone else that had been serving for quite some time, this meant that by the time they retired, they would not receive the max out their pay.

     My plan to address the RFD and RPD is known as the "Bledsoe Plan" and is very simple to implement. This plan will help all of our firefighters and police officers together. This is the Bledsoe Plan: RFD will match the RPD in entry pay all the way to the highest level, retirement will be lowered to 25 years to match RPD, & both departments will be
given military leave.

  • Pay parity - All entry level firefighters will enter the department at the same pay grade and rates as an entry level officer with the RPD. Each RFD and RPD will have a matching pay scale to include time in service and time in grade. Upon graduation, RPD/RFD graduates will start with the current RPD pay of $42,300.

  • Military leave will be given to all members of the RPD/RFD who enter/are in the military. 120 hours of military leave will only be given to the National Guard and Reserve for use in military service.

  • Retirement for the RFD will be lowered from 30 years to 25 years to
    match the RPD. Those who are already in the 5 year difference window
    will be given the option of early retirement or to stay in service to
    possibly achieve promotion. All firefighters in the 5 year window of the
    25 to 30 year transition who chose to have early retirement will have
    their retirement programs paid in full by the city to complete
    retirement deficiencies.
  • Institute a cost of living adjustment (.1-2% every year) to account for inflation and stagnant pay for both the RFD and RPD over the course of 10 years. The lowest increase is 0.1%, even if there are no large raises over the decade - the departments will see a minimum raise of 1% after the 10 year plan.

  • Dorms/small apartments for entry/lower ranking first responders within the city. 96% of the RFD lives outside of Raleigh because they cannot afford to live here. Having dorms or small apartments available to single first responders just starting out, then they can focus more on their job and less on their finances.

It is my goal to make sure that the RPD/RFD are well staffed and payed so response times can be lowered and retention is kept high.

If you see anything you would like me to change or add onto this list for the RFD & RPD, please contact me immediately and I'll amend my list.

Committee to Elect James Bledsoe
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