Police, firefighters outraged over proposal to reduce pay of injured workers

Police, firefighters outraged over proposal to reduce pay of injured workers (Image 1)

They have a tough job that requires risking their lives to save others, but many Metro police and firefighters are outraged over the city's proposal to cut their pay if they get hurt on the job.

Currently, injured workers receive 100% of their salary if they are injured in the line of duty. Under the new proposal, their pay would reduced to just more than 66%.

By cutting the compensation, the city says it would save money and prevent some workers from taking advantage of the system.

“The costs and medical costs are escalating compared to the other costs of government and so we are looking at ways that we can lower them and not hurt employees,” Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling told Nashville's News 2.

However, police and firefighters see it differently.

Many of them showed up outside the Civil Service Commission meeting Tuesday morning to show their opposition to the proposal, including recently injured firefighter David Powell.

“I just hope that the commission will look at my brother who risked his life everyday along with others. They don't deserve this. They don't deserve taking any of their money away,” Powell's brother Peter, said on David's behalf.

Powell was critically injured while battling a house fire in east Nashville on December 6.

The 27-year veteran firefighter has no short-term memory and has limited long-term memory because of the accident.

His family said he requires round the clock care and will not be able to return to his job.

District Chief Bobby Connelly, a 53-year veteran who has been seriously injured twice on the job said, “I can't imagine a firefighter now having to be concerned if he gives his all and does get hurt that he's going to be penalized.”

The Civil Service Commission will consider the comments and vote on the issue in February.

If the proposal passes, it will impact all Metro civil service employees, not just police and firefighters.

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