Mercer study demeans first responders

Published 11:41 am Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dear Editor,

I am having a hard time understanding something and if someone can please explain it to me in such a manner that I understand the reasoning and reckonings behind the decision on the Mercer study, I would be most appreciative. Tell me how Pelham city officials justify the librarian making more money than the police and fire chiefs?

I am not knocking the job she does as it is a very important job and the entire city benefits from her hard work, but what about liability?

How can you justify a clerk position in any department being on the same pay scale as your 911 operator, who is also a police and fire dispatcher?

Let’s use the recent tragedy at the state park to illustrate this point.

Will a clerk ever have to answer a call from someone who has just pulled a child from the water and that child is unresponsive? Will that same clerk then have to listen to the desperate attempts of the person to save this child? Will that same clerk have to calmly and clearly give CPR instructions to that person and try to keep them calm when they themselves are screaming on the inside for that child to breathe?

Will that clerk then have to answer the next call in a professional and courteous manner because the calls don’t stop?

Will someone in the street department ever have to write a report about a tragedy that has just occurred or, heaven forbid, lose a co-worker and friend and try desperately to save them on the side of the road in a senseless act of violence?

Will someone in the water department ever willingly run into a burning building to save someone or perform CPR on a child, trying to save them as a normal course of their chosen profession?

Will anyone other than our first responders, dispatchers included, have to compartmentalize their pain so that they can continue to do what is expected of them? We have demeaned and demoralized them with the passing of this study.

We pay our first responders not for what they have done, but for what they might have to do and the liability that goes along with it.

Stacey Manning