November 10, 2005
A week ago, Augusta firefighters learned they would get an immediate four percent pay increase, shortly after deputies got one. Now, some workers in Augusta’s Utilities Department say they will fight for one, too. News 12 is on your side to explain what the department is doing to get a raise they say is long overdue.
Utility workers say they are all for deputies and firefighters getting a raise, but only on News 12, hear why they say they work just as hard and if other departments get a raise equaling eight percent, they should, too.
When there’s a water main break, they repair it. When there’s a broken pipe, they’re the ones who fix it.
“If someone hits a fire hydrant, they call the Water Works. We got to get up and go. I don’t care if it’s ten below zero, twenty below zero, we got to get up and go,” said Nathan Deloach.
And that’s why the city’s Utilities Department say they’re the ones who should be next in line for a pay raise.
“It’s a service and it’s a necessary service just like police protection and fire protection,” said Tommy Sammons.
Last week, over 100 firefighters filled Augusta commission chambers fighting for and getting an additional four percent raise.
“I think we’re entitled to whatever they get,” said Charlie Nemmons.
And the Utilities Department is hoping they’ll get the same result after starting a petition to bring before the commission Tuesday. They say they are on call 24-hours a day and put their lives in jeopardy, just like the firefighters.
“If they went to a fire and didn’t have no water, I feel like we just as important as the fire department also, so why can’t we have a raise, a substantial raise?” Nemmons said.
City Administrator Fred Russell says the city would like to give all employees an eight percent raise, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
“Everybody wants to be paid more than what they’re being paid, but the problem is balancing that against the amount of dollars you’ve got to spread out,” Russell said.