Some Henrico firefighters irked by seeming pay raise discrepancy

HENRICO, Va. -- About a half dozen positions with Henrico County Fire and Emergency Medical Services have been reclassified, which means some employees are getting a new title – and a pay increase.

The people whose jobs have been reclassified will have more responsibility, officials said, along with more pay.

Henrico County Fire Stations are one of the largest and busiest departments in the Commonwealth.

"Last year we ran just under 50,000 calls and we're projecting a pretty typical seven to eight percent increase each year,” said Chief Tony McDowell, with Henrico County Fire. "The services we're being asked by the community to provide are changing, the needs of the organization are changing."

With the changes, McDowell said, came a need to make changes to how the department is organized. He said the reclassification is a very routine administrative process.

Five positions within the fire department will see additional job responsibilities, along with a pay increase.

"It's not just a pay raise, it's a reclassification from one classification to another and with that they moved along the pay grade and I believe it was about a 12 and a half percent increase,” McDowell said.

In July, all eligible Henrico County employees, including the 500 plus firefighters will get a two and half percent pay raise. There were lots of grumbles among staff when word spread that some people were getting salary increases that were double, or higher, than that.

"That's a completely different topic than a reclassification,” McDowell said. “That's an across the board county wide pay increase."

The Henrico Professional Firefighters Association released a statement to CBS 6.

The Henrico Professional Firefighters Association constantly advocates for fair financial compensation for all of our members. We are aware of the reclassification pay increased proposed for certain Division of Fire Operation and District Chief Officers. The reclassification presented last week will provide alignment and parity to other county agencies management position of similar rank. We constantly monitor and research all Division of fire benefits provided for our membership. The Henrico Professional Firefighters Association will continue to work with Chief McDowell and his administration to ensure fair compensation through the Division of Fire.