Voters consider part-time wage referendum on ballot

A ‘Yes’ vote establishes part-time wage for fire department; ‘No’ vote overturns ordinance

By Melanie Yingst -

TROY — Citizens of Troy will decide whether or not the city can implement an ordinance to hire part-time firefighters and paramedics or EMTs for the Troy Fire Department.

In July 2014, city council approved the ordinance to establish wage rates for part-time employees at the fire department.

Issue 15 asks Troy voters “shall Ordinance O-19-2014 as adopted by the council be approved?” A “Yes” vote supports council’s vote to establish a part-time wage for the fire department and a “No” vote would turn down council’s decision.

Representing the Troy Fire Department, retired firefighter Bill Sheafer said voters should vote “No” on Issue 15 to keep quality fire and rescue services in the city of Troy.

“The part-time issue would be a step backwards for the city of Troy,” Sheafer said. “The actual money they are going to save by using part-time doesn’t offset the loss of performance, quality and safety that they are going to lose by using part-time.”

City of Troy assistant director of public service and safety director Tom Funderburg said City Hall’s position is, “Troy citizens, businesses and visitors are very well protected now and adding part-time professional firefighters will keep Troy safe and improve our services to our community.”

Sheafer, a firefighter for 24 years, said it takes almost a year for a full-time firefighter to become accumulated to the standards, procedures, city layout and equipment. Sheafer said part-time firefighters will cost the city more money in the long-term once part-timers find full-time employment at fire departments elsewhere that offer benefits.

Sheafer said those who seek to be a firefighter spend thousands of dollars on training, classes and certifications and will seek full time employment with benefits to support their career choice.

Sheafer said the part-time wage issue would be different if the city was in a tough economic situation, yet Sheafer said the city found funds to pay for its recent multi-million Riverfront Development project, spending more than $2 million on Treasure Island Park and the marina.

According to the informational sheet available at City Hall, the city’s position includes how the city provided “an outside consultant determined that the citizens and businesses are sufficiently protected in the event of a fire or medical emergency. (Novak Consulting Group) confirmed that our current staff is adequate but that part-time staff would help make Troy even safer.”

Information also included how the city proposed to restructure the local fire union and its current positions, Troy will promote qualified part-time staff to full-time positions, and how other cities use a combination department system.

A copy of the information sheet from City Hall is available online at For more information on why to vote “No” on Issue 15, visit
A ‘Yes’ vote establishes part-time wage for fire department; ‘No’ vote overturns ordinance

By Melanie Yingst