RALEIGH, N.C. – Charles Francis, Democratic candidate for Raleigh mayor, was today endorsed by Raleigh Firefighters United, a group which represents the interests of hundreds of firefighters who work at the 28 fire stations across the city to protect Raleigh citizens.
Charles Francis has been openly critical of how current mayor Nancy McFarlane has handled the issue of pay increases and benefit cuts for firefighters and other first responders:
“It is clear, from the lack of leadership in the highest ranks of City Hall that they do not trust citizen involvement and feel it is unnecessary to address the concerns and needs of our most vital city employees. The current uproar with our firefighters is another example of weak leadership from Nancy McFarlane. We need a Mayor who will work arm-in-arm with our police, firefighters and all city employees, rather than continuing an adversarial relationship,” said Mr. Francis.
In endorsing Francis, Raleigh Firefighters United cited several concerns about how the city currently compensates firefighters. The city has promised that firefighters will receive pay increases, but it has failed to make clear what these increases will look like or how they will be implemented. This is due to an utter lack of transparency on the part of city government, which has refused to make public the pay study on which these purported increases are based.
Raleigh Firefighters United is also concerned that, if or when pay increases come, they will be mis-aligned and not take seniority into account. That could result in newer recruits receiving higher salaries than firefighters who have been serving for years. They are also troubled by the fact that there has been no official confirmation that separation pay will be offered to older members of the force nearing retirement.
This lack of transparency and respect for the work of our first responders is part of an unfortunate trend in Raleigh under the administration of Mayor McFarlane. First responders and other city workers are being promised pay raises that fail to materialize, all while seeing reductions in benefits.
Charles Francis believes that our first responders are vital to a functioning, safe city environment. As such, we need to compensate them fairly and not play games with their benefits. When Charles Francis is mayor, firefighters and other first responders will get the respect they deserve, and the level of compensation they have earned through their hard work to protect this city.