Is Low Pay Driving Away Atlanta Cops, Firefighters?


Union leaders for Atlanta's cops and firefighters say that long-standing unhappiness over pay is driving them away, reports They say the morale problem has gotten worse in recent weeks after public safety workers were left out of raises given to nearly 3,000 other Atlanta employees. About 100 officers have resigned from the Atlanta Police Department so far this year, on pace to exceed the average of nearly 130 resignations in 2013 and 2014.

Data from Atlanta Fire Rescue show that resignations have doubled in the past two years, with 20 firefighters leaving in fiscal year 2014 and 43 in fiscal year 2015. That's about 10 percent of the force's 409 firefighters. The public safety unions took a bold public position recently on a billboard off I-75, warning motorists, “Danger: Enter at Your Own Risk. Mayor Kasim Reed Does Not Care About Public Safety.” Reed, who says the city has given a number of raises to public safety workers, adds that he won't approve additional pay bumps as long as the unions continue to support a class-action lawsuit against his 2011 pension reform.

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