Report: Bossier City owes firefighters more than $600K in backpay
A proposed resolution calling for a city council investigation into firefighters’ pay was discussed at the February 7, 2012 regular city council meeting. While the resolution was not added to the city council agenda for consideration, Mayor Walker immediately initiated a probe into the issue by directing his staff to work diligently to research the issue as neither he nor senior ranking members of his administration were ever made aware of any allegations concerning firefighters’ pay. The review conducted at the direction of Mayor Lorenz Walker has found discrepancies in how Bossier City firefighters were paid since 2008.
The initial findings showed proper salary adjustments were not implemented in the fire department as the result of a firefighter pay increase that was included in the 2008 operating budget. It appears that the method in which the then Fire Chief instructed his personnel to input the increases does appear to violate how those increases should have been implemented according to Louisiana Revised Statue 33:1992. The increases were applied as a flat $400 per month across the board pay increase for each firefighter rather than in mandated incremental percentages based on rank as dictated by the statute. As a result the firefighters as a whole are owed an approximate average of $150,000 per year going back to 2008 for a total sum of $615,450. As part of the pay adjustment the city will also fund $8,900 in required Medicare contributions. The city is also determining how much funds will be required to pay adjusted retirement contributions to each affected firefighter since 2008.
The city administration will request that the city council consider and introduce an ordinance at its regular meeting on February 21, 2012 to appropriate budgetary reserve funds from the city’s fund balance to cover the pay discrepancies and make immediate restitution to the firefighters.