GREENE Co., Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Greene County Commissioners met Tuesday morning to discuss possible solutions to a problem that impacts many communities across the nation. That being a shortage of EMS workers due to low salaries.
“The employees approached the council back in April about their low wages. They couldn’t retain any help because of their low wages. And also the low starting point. They couldn’t hire anybody new,” said County Commissioner Nathan Abrams.
Greene County’s EMS director says their department has lost several people.
“We’ve had a lot of people leave for other EMS jobs or jobs, like at the federal prison. We’ve had people leave to hospital type jobs where they’re working in a hospital and no longer on an ambulance,” said David Doane.
They said the key to keeping, not just EMS employees, but county employees in general is increasing pay.
“We looked at the ten counties with the same population as Greene County, and Greene County was the lowest paid of those ten counties,” Abrams said.
Abrams’ salary and wage committee presented a plan to county council that would bring all county worker wages to the average of the ten counties.
“It was based on a tier system. Fifteen year employees we’re looking at $5,000 raises. 10 year employees, we’re looking at $3,000 raises. Five year employees, a $1,500 raise and implement a cost of living increase for everybody else,” Abrams said.
Now, it’s in the council’s hands.
“Their actions, we don’t know yet. We won’t know until budget hearings what they’re going to do,” he said.
In the case that council doesn’t act on the raise plan, county commissioners are working to find a private ambulance service.
“This is just a plan B. This is just if we wind up with no employees. What are we going to do? How are we going to provide the service for the county?” Abrams added.
In the meantime, Greene County’s EMS director believes there won’t be too much to worry about.
“I think the employees that are here now still are going to be loyal and they’re going to stay. If the pay doesn’t increase much more, I think they will stay. Working for the county is a good situation,” Doane said.
Next steps will be determined if the plan is approved at Greene County’s budget hearing in early September.