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Despite Less Pay, No Raises in Sight for S.D. Firefighters

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders says the cash strapped city simply doesn't have the money to pay firefighters what they want, even though a new study shows they have lower take home pay than in other ci

Despite Less Pay, No Raises in Sight for S.D. Firefighters

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders says the cash strapped city simply doesn't have the money to pay firefighters what they want, even though a new study shows they have lower take home pay than in other cities. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

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Mayor Sanders says he cannot promise firefighters a raise in spite of having promised one to police. The police department is short 200 officers and is having trouble recruiting more. But Sanders says firefighting is a different story. More than 2,000 people applied for 50 firefighter positions with the city last month.

<b> Sanders: </b> Traditionally applications for fire departments are much higher than for police departments we have not seen that any fire department is having the same type of trouble in attracting candidates.

But Frank De Clercq, of the firefighters union says after two years of no pay raise,   Sanders can expect to see things change.

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<b> De Clercq: </b> If he pushes us to this brink our people will leave, you know the bottom line is if you've got a house payment and you've taken a pay step backwards for a couple of years, now you cant continue it.

Experienced firefighters make between $50,000 and $60,000 a year. The reason San Diego firefighters' take home pay is falling behind other cities is mainly because they now make a bigger contribution into their own pension plans. Alison St John, KPBS News.