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Report Says Many Raleigh Municipal Employees Are Underpaid

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RALEIGH — Property taxes in Raleigh went down this year, but it may be tough for the city council to keep them down. A new report says a number of municipal employees are underpaid.

Emergency service workers take care of us, but are we taking care of them?

A new report for Raleigh's city council says starting pay for city police officers and firefighters is nine percent below similar size southeastern cities.

"We still have a good reputation statewide as a good place to work. But these numbers say to me that we may be slipping," said Councilman Benson Kirkman.

But the report also says that there are some other city jobs that could pay better.

That raises one question. Is this just going to create a snowball effect in Raleigh where all kinds of employees are going to ask for more money?

Just last week, 911 dispatchers asked for more cash.

"You start doling out money, and everybody wants some. I hope that we'll come through with some more," said Wayne Motley of the Raleigh Firefighters Association.

Kirkman stresses Raleigh will evaluate all its pay scales with one particular emphasis.

"What I'm going to do, personally as much as anything, is these lower level positions, the lower end of the pay scale where folks just can't make a living and be a city employee," said Kirkman.

The pay issue will be a tough call for the council to make. But it means a great deal for the people who have to take the tough calls.

The consulting firm that wrote the report will present it to the city council Tuesday.

Associations representing both police officers and firefighters have paid for their own studies regarding salaries.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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