Metro to consider cutting pay of injured firefighters

Metro to consider cutting pay of injured firefighters (Image 1)

Metro's Civil Service Commission will consider a proposal next week that would cut firefighters pay if they are injured on the job.

After nearly 27 years of fighting some of Nashville's toughest fires, David Powell almost died in one on December 6.

He was working a house fire in east Nashville when he went to replace his air tank and fell down a flight of stairs. Powell hit his head and fell unconscious.

He was critically injured and spent nearly a month in the hospital before returning home Tuesday.

Powell doesn't have an easy road ahead of him. He's left with lung and brain damage, vision problems and no short-term memory due to the accident.

The incident highlights how dangerous the job really is.

“These firefighters and police officers are not your normal workers. These people go out and put their lives on the line for other fellow Americans,” said Powell's wife, Connie.

Powell and others are outraged by a proposal set to go before the Civil Service Commission that would cut their pay should they get injured.

Currently, firefighters receive 100% of their pay if they are injured at work. The proposal would reduce it to just more than 66%.

“We have enough to worry about. We don't need to worry about our finances being interrupted,” said Powell.

The Powell family won't have to worry about it because of the timing of his injury but if the proposal passes other families may.  The change wouldn't just affect firefighters but all Nashville civil service employees, including police officers.

“These are heroes, these are heroes! They protect and they deserve 100% of their pay,” Connie Powell added.

A public hearing on the proposed change is scheduled for next Tuesday following the Civil Service Commission's regularly scheduled meeting.

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