Pay study shows Alexandria firefighters underpaid compared to surrounding agencies

Published: Jun. 7, 2021 at 1:26 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 1:30 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Earlier this year, the City of Alexandria hired Vermillion Analytics to conduct a salary study of the Alexandria Police and Fire Department. News Channel 5 obtained the survey independently. (The full study can be viewed at the bottom of this page.)

Last week, KALB broke down the nearly 50-page study of the salaries for the police department that showed that officers in Alexandria are underpaid and are leaving for more money, in some cases to other departments.

According to information obtained by Vermilion Analytics, payment plans for both the police and fire departments have not been updated since 2009, and that planned phased compensation increases that were set to take place “were never implemented in their entirety.”

This article will focus on the results of the fire study.

In the study, Vermillion Analystcs compared the base salary for the Alexandria Fire Department and how it compares to other agencies in the state.

Alexandria sits next to the bottom only in front of Pineville as the base salary for firefighters is $24,366. According to the study, Alexandria makes nearly $4,000 less than a smaller agency like Woodworth and $10,000 less than a larger city like Lafayette. The average starting salary is $28,166 which is over 15 percent higher than Alexandria’s current starting salary.

Chart: Firefighter Base Pay for Full Sample (Vermillion Analytics)
Chart: Firefighter Base Pay for Full Sample (Vermillion Analytics)(KALB)

It is important to note that base salary doesn’t actually mean firefighters are making that amount.

When looking at the actual pay that firefighters across the state make, Alexandria still ranks towards the bottom. According to the study, the actual salary in Alexandria for firefighters is $26,191 which is only in front of Monroe and Pineville.

Chart: Average Actual Firefighter Pay for Full Sample (Vermillion Analytics)
Chart: Average Actual Firefighter Pay for Full Sample (Vermillion Analytics)(KALB)

Alexandria makes $5,000 less than Woodworth when comparing actual salaries and close to $11,000 less than Lafayette and Baton Rouge. For Alexandria, the average firefighter makes 14 percent less than the sample average.

In conclusion, the study shows that like police officers, this deficit lasts the entire time an employee remains in the class of firefighter. The pay study recommends that starting pay for the firefighters be increased to be more in line with surrounding agencies.


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