Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria has been sounding a cooperative tone in recent months on county matters that concern Garner.
Last week, county commissioners took a step closer to putting some action behind Calabria’s words.
Commissioners reviewed a county-led study of firefighter salaries and confirmed what Garner officials have been saying for some time: Firemen in Garner – and some other county-supported fire departments – are off the salary pace set by municipal-operated departments in Wake County.
Those results make it easier for county commissioners to justify putting some money on the table to get those firemen at least closer to the county average.
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Garner council members had already committed to doing so even if that had to spend the town’s money to make up the difference.
But the Garner Fire Department clearly serves more than just the taxpayers in the town of Garner.
Fire Chief Matt Poole made the comment that even the discussions held by county commissioners were having a positive impact on his firefighters. Morale was improving. That’s a good thing for Garner for a couple reasons.
First and foremost, if the townspeople of Garner are going to ask men to risk their lives to prevent property damage or the loss of another life, then no one wants them tackling that task when they are worried about paying the bills. That’s a sure recipe for disaster.
Secondly, Garner doesn’t want to become little more than a training ground for young firefighters who will leave on a regular basis in search of $10,000 more per year. Keeping salaries competitive puts the town and people like Poole in a much better position to recruit and keep good firefighters.
We hope this spirit of cooperation between Garner council members and the Wake County Board of Commissioners will continue for a good long time. There are certainly plenty of opportunities for the two groups to work together.