New York Officers Petition for Salary Increase
The chief officers, captains and lieutenants in the New York fire department have petitioned the Board of Estimate and Apportionment for salary increases in the annual budget for 1926.
The petition, signed by the presidents respectively of the Chief Officer’s Association, the Captain’s Association and the Lieutenants Association, was before the members of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment on Friday, September 25, and was referred to the committee of the whole, which is the board itself in executive session.
The petition provides for an increase in salary for Chief John Kenlon. A previous request made in his behalf by the Uniformed Firemen’s Association was referred by the Board of Estimate to the fire commissioner for his recommendation and report. To date Commissioner Drennan has made no disposition of that reference.
The petition now before the budget committee of the Board of Estimate follows:
New York, September 18, 1925.
“To the Honorable Board of Estimate and Apportionment,
City of New York.
“Sirs: The undersigned committee, representing the officers of the fire department, present this petition with the permission and approval of the fire commissioner and ask your serious consideration. We respectfully request a readjustment of salaries, commensurate with the greater responsibilities now placed on the fire officers, increases of compensation granted in other lines of endeavor, and present living conditions.
“We earnestly urge that provision be made in the Budget for the year 1926, as follows:
“The growth of the city and the acuteness of the building situation has grossly overcrowded every type of structure, streets, transit lines and river shipping, creating a grave life hazard. The high cost of buildings and commodities has greatly enhanced the possible property looses at fires. The high buildings of large area, the general use of volatile and inflammable chemicals, and the advent of many fire appliances of intricate mechanical nature, have broadened the held of firefighting to a highly skilled profession. The decisions of the fire officer, upon which depend the safety of life and property, are final—they are not debatable. The handling of fires today is, consequently, a herculean task, calling for cool, intelligent and instantaneous decision and action.
“During the past ten years the number of fires has Increased 24%, the total losses 139%, hut the loss p r fire has increased only 108%-, which greatly reflects the capability of the modern fire officer.
“In other lines of endeavor compensation has advanced 120% to 127% during the past ten years. The increases granted to the fire officers for this period are small: Deputy Chiefs of Department 29%, Chiefs of Battalion 36%; Captains 48%, and Lieutenants 52%, the last increase being received in 1920. The Chief of Department has not received an increase.
“The report of the National Industrial Conference Board shows the cost of living in New York to have increased 100% during the last ten years. The increases of salaries granted to the fire officers do not begin to offset this advance.
“The fire officers are not unmindful of, and recall with appreciation the former grants of your Honorable Board, and arc hopeful of a favorable consideration of this appeal.”
THOMAS F. NORTON,
President, Chief Officers’ Association.
JOHN P. HEPERMAN,
President, Captains’ Association.
JOSEPH L. FLANNERY,
President. Lieutenants’ Association.
Two other petitions have been filed with the Board of Estimate; one by a committee of eligibles on the existing list for promotion to the rank of deputy chief of department. The eligibles ask that eight additional deputy chiefs be appointed, so as to give each division of the department two full fledged deputies. Previous attempts to accomplish this were opposed by Commissioner Drennan and Chief Kenlon.
Still another petition is from a committee of eligibles on the list for promotion to captain. This committee asks that 21 additional captains be appointed, so as to give to each company in the department a full fledged captain. As the force operates to-day there are many fire stations where an engine and a truck company are quartered under the one roof, where only one captain and three lieutenants make up the officer personnel. The eligibles on the list for captain want a bona fide captain in each truck and engine company, whether under one or separate roofs.