Gov’t to use federal ARPA funds to increase firefighters’ base pay
By John McPhaul
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia announced Thursday that he will use available federal funds to increase firefighter pay and bring fair wages to those first responders, while continuing to identify recurring funds.
“We are once again using available federal funds to address wage justice claims in key areas of our government, such as public safety,” the governor said in a written statement. “Now, we will continue to look for short- and long-term alternatives to identify recurring state funds to pay for these increases. You can count on my commitment that we will have the necessary resources to sustain this increase in the long term.”
The firefighters received an increase of $125 per month last year after, Pierluisi said, noting that his administration fought against the Financial Oversight Management Board to make way for it. Likewise, and although a greater increase was requested from the oversight board, the new fiscal plan includes an additional $125 per month for firefighters, effective in July 2022. The increase that will now be given to firefighters would be an additional $500 per month, which would raise their base salary from $1,625 to $2,250 per month.
The new $500-per-month increase will begin on July 1, along with the $125 per month already approved in the fiscal plan. The increase announced Thursday will come from federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act available until 2026.
The governor noted meanwhile that “I must recognize that the Board made way for the implementation of the uniform compensation plans that will generate salary increases for public servants as of January 2023.”