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Opelousas Fire Department seeks salary increase

Posted at 10:54 PM, Mar 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-21 14:57:05-04

The city of Opelousas held a budget committee meeting tonight to discuss increasing the salary of fire department employees.

Currently Opelousas Fire Department employees base pay is $9.50 per hour and they are looking to get a salary increase to $10.90.

The final decision at the budget committee meeting was to bring this proposal back up in the next city council meeting.

"Based on our numbers and their numbers we can afford to give them a .90 cent raise that's about it right now but, we are going to look at some other alternatives to increase it. We would like to get them up to $2.00 increase we've gotta do it we are loosing our fire men we had one walk out tonight he's leaving." said Charles Cummings, Alderman District C.

I did a comparison to a neighboring fire department to look at what a fire employee makes at the Jennings Fire Department their base pay is at $12.50 an hour which is a $3 difference.

A 16 year-fire department employee resigned Monday because of the low pay and the fire chief says he does not want to loose anymore employees.

"After the meeting we are told that we can only sustain within our budget of a .90 cent increase which it will be nice but it's no where, where we need to be to compete with the other departments in the area. " said Richard Joseph Opelousas Interim Fire Chief.

I also spoke to a current fire fighter and he says he is looking forward to the city council meeting and hopes the council votes in the favor of the fire department.

"Well it would help in the fact that I would not have to work this hard I would not have to relay on overtime we are mainly taking this overtime to help our brothers in arms to make sure we are not over working ourselves or hurting and at the same time still servicing the city. " said Daniel Saucier, Driver Operator at Opelousas Fire Department.

The city council will vote on the proposed pay raise on April 11th during their next regular scheduled meeting .