Feedback is provided regarding the data that was used in the review of EMS pay in a comparison of market comparators, a response to feedback and data provided by Lonnie Phillips (attached), EMS Supervisor, the email from Megan Ellzy, President of the Alexandria Firefighters Inc. (attached), and follow-up to Councilman Bailey's question of Fire pay.
The data that the Human Resources Department (HRD) provided in the second analysis of medic pay (budget memo # I 7) consisted of a comparison of jurisdictions in Northern Virginia: Fairfax County, Arlington County, Prince William County and Loudoun County. The job classifications that were selected as comparable positions to the City were identified as the closest possible match within these jurisdictions despite Alexandria being the only jurisdiction that is not predominantly dual role. For those medic positions that are dual role in the City (Medic IV and EMS Captain), a Transitional Pay Incentive (TPI) was included in our review as this pay is an equivalent of a 10% base pay addition for these positions. Based on this data, we found that medic positions are paid at or above the average of the average of market1. As stated previously, while the analysis for the EMS Supervisor position shows that the salary is behind the market, this is a position that is being eliminated through attrition as the Fire Department shifts to a dual role system.
The focus of this analysis was base pay. This is an accepted standard HR practice. While pay in comparator jurisdictions consist of specialty pay, specialty pay is not equivalent to base pay and cannot be accurately estimated as a part of base pay; it can only be compared with other specialty pay. For this reason, specialty pay was not included in this analysis of base pay.
An email from Lonnie Phillips listed concerns regarding the analysis that was conducted by HRD. Mr. Phillips also provided data that he identified for consideration; we thank Mr. Phillips for sharing his feedback.
While we understand that specialty pay is offered to medic positions in Northern Virginia jurisdictions, as stated in the previous section, specialty pay is a form of pay that is made available to employees in addition to base pay and is not the equivalent of base pay. As such, specialty pay could not be included in a review of base pay. TPI on the other hand is a reflection of medic base pay and was included as a part of the review of base pay. TPI is issued to Medic IV's to make up for a loss in pay that occurred when medics transitioned into the dual role positions as a result of an increase in work hours.
The Firefighter Association's letter expresses concern that this 10% for dual role medics now results in a pay disparity with the dual role Firefighter IV when considered as a part of base pay. The salary range differential between Medic IV's and Firefighter IV's derives from a working with the Fire Department regarding planning the transition from separate medic and firefighter roles to a dual role system while having a need to amend existing and separate medic and firefighter pay scales to reflect this new dual role system. This was not an easy task. The 10% TPI was created in order to ensure that medics who volunteer to train and to move to the dual role Medic IV position receive a pay increase rather than a loss when they move into the dual role position. It may have created what some may perceive as disparities with the Firefighter pay scale, but it is a reasonable and fair solution to the issues raised by conversion from a single role to a dual role system.
Concerns regarding the data in HRD's analysis included the exclusion of an EMS Supervisor position in Washington, D.C. and the use of the Captain I position in Fairfax County rather than Captain 11. This information was provided to HRD during the analysis process and was excluded for the following reasons:
- Washington, D.C. was excluded from the analysis as it is not one of our comparator jurisdictions. The focus of this analysis was on Northern Virginia comparators. During a council work session, a question was asked regarding why Loudoun County isn't used as a comparator. As such, Loudoun County was included in our review
- Fairfax County does not have an exact match to Alexandria's EMS Supervisor. A review of Fairfax County's positions identified that Alexandria's position falls between two of Fairfax County's dual role positions: Fire Lieutenant and Fire Captain I, not Fire Captain II. As such,HRD selected Fairfax County's Fire Captain I position which is the higher of the two positions.
Additional concerns were sited regarding the use of the same comparator positions in the analysis of Medic II and Medic IV positions. The reason for this is that the pay in these jurisdictions are designed with a base salary and adds any applicable additional pay (specialty pay) based on a variety of factor including number of hours that an employees rides on certain vehicles as well as the certifications and qualifications that individuals earn. Alexandria's career ladder for medic positions were designed to provide medics with promotable opportunities based on their qualifications, receiving increases in their base pay in lieu of issuing specialty pay. Alexandria's structure is not identical to our comparators and as such, the only positions that are available for comparison are the positions that were used in the analysis.
HRD has also reviewed the data provided by Mr. Phillips. This information was provided previously and HRD did determine that this data could not be used as it contains data outside of the parameters of this analysis including estimates of specialty pay as well as formulas that are inconsistent with HR practice.
In reference to questions regarding comparing Fire pay to jurisdictions that work a 56 hour work week, a memo was delivered to council on April 20, 20162.
1FY2017 Budget Memoranda #17 delivered on April 20, 2016 (pgs. 11-16)
2FY2017 Budget Memoranda #17 delivered on April 20, 2016 (pgs. 9-10)