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Joplin Firefighters hope for pay increase to start the new year

2023 is still young, but the first meeting of the Joplin city council takes place tonight. Items on the agenda include a salary increase for the city's firefighters. KRPS's Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.

Nearly four months to the day, during the first week of September last year, the Joplin city council approved, on an emergency

basis, an 11.7% pay increase for Joplin's police officers. The action by the city council came about a month after residents rejected a

proposition that would have substantially raised Joplin's property taxes to pay higher police salaries. About two weeks ago,

representatives with the city and TheJoplin Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 59agreed on an 11.2% wage increase that's in line

with the wage increases that police received last fall. The IAFF Local 59 overwhelmingly approved the plan, with 93% voting in

favor. If approved by the council tonight, it will also be on an emergency basis. The wage increases will bring Joplin's Fire staff's

salaries in line with neighboring departments. Leadership with Joplin Police and Fire have voiced their department's difficulty

hiring enough staff due to low pay. The formal portion of the Joplin city council gets underway tonight at 6. For 89 9 KRPS, I'm Fred Fletcher-Fierro

Since 2017 Fred Fletcher-Fierro has driven up Highway 171 through thunderstorms, downpours, snow, and ice storms to host KRPS’s Morning Edition. He’s also a daily reporter for the station, covering city government, elections, public safety, arts, entertainment, culture, sports and more. Fred has also spearheaded and overseen a sea change in programming for KRPS from a legacy classical station to one that airs a balance of classical, news, jazz, and cultural programming that better reflects the diverse audience of the Four States. For over two months in the fall of 2022 he worked remotely with NPR staff to relaunch to an NPR style news and information website.

In the fall of 2023 Fred was promoted to Interim General Manager and was appointed GM in Feburary of 2024.