Are City Paramedics Making Too Much?

Do San Diego city paramedics make too much money? Two city council members seem to think so and they backed their opinion Thursday with a recent report from the city council's independent budget analyst.

 "We have to be willing to really evaluate every single service we are delivering. And we need to be willing to look at ways of doing it the most efficient and creative way possible," said 6th District San Diego City Councilmember Lorie Zapf.

Zapf and Councilmember Carl Demaio released a report Thursday that compares the compensation between fire department employees and employees of private sector ambulance companies. It found the fire department is paying salaries up to 325-percent higher than those in the private sector.

The council members believe correcting the difference in pay will save the taxpayers money and redirect funds to improving public safety services for neighborhoods.

The president of the San Diego Firefighters Union believes there is no private sector firefighting alternative with equivalent training.

"It's one thing to attack firefighters union, it's another to attack the men and women that risk their lives here on a daily basis," said San Diego City Firefighters President Frank de Clercq

DeMaio has been calling for the use of ambulances and other response vehicles in place of fully staffed fire trucks as a money saving alternative. He also believes the savings could also go toward eliminating the browned out fire stations and threatened service cuts.

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