Squad to increase pay, reduce overtime hours

Published 8:00 am Thursday, June 15, 2023

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Over the past year, the Charlotte County Rescue Squad (CCRS) has undergone changes in an effort to combat the many financial issues the department found itself in earlier in 2022.

In an interview last week with The Charlotte Gazette CCRS Captain Matt Matthew LaMotte said staffing issues are a major concern and that is leading to current members being faced with working overtime.

“We need members. Staffing is a big issue, and surrounding counties are offering better pay and benefits.”

LaMotte said, in talking with squad members who have left, that pay was the most significant factor in them leaving.

According to LaMotte overtime pay is still an issue affecting the squads budget.

“At one point we had workers doing 60 and even 96 hours a week,” LaMotte said. “If we can get four more paid full-time workers I can cut that down with the new schedule.”

Currently, CCRS operated with 11 volunteers, 16 full-time and 3 part-time workers.

With more employees on board, LaMotte said he can decrease the overtime payouts while increasing the starting pay for employees.

That starting pay could be as much as $18.42 for an employee who is an EMT-B with EVOC certification. Working with CCRS includes insurance benefits and paid time off with a 24/72 schedule.

LaMotte said volunteers are needed as well.

“We need volunteers from everything to running calls to helping out at the building,” he said. “It takes more than running an ambulance to operate a rescue squad. The community is more than welcome to come out anytime and see what we do.”

As part of the county’s FY 2023-2024 budget process, the board of supervisors (BOS) increased funding to the squad by $550,000.

This budget increase comes months after repeated requests for additional funding from CCRS

Since February 2022 just about every month rescue squad officials have addressed the BOS with issues and financial requests.

The rescue squad’s lack of funds first came to light during the Feb. 14 2022 BOS meeting when former CCRS Captain Bill Mayhew addressed the board asking for $50,000 to $80,000 in additional funding.

Mayhew said that waiting on payments from Medicare and Medicaid and inflation had put the squad in a bind.

At that time salaries and overtime expenses were other financial impacts that faced the squad.

It was during the same meeting that Mayhew said to run three crews a day, five days a week, and two crews on the weekend; CCRS spends $12,600 a week on salaries, with members working anywhere from 48 to 60 hours a week.

With payments from insurance now cleared up CCRS is working to find more employees in the hopes to continue its effects in cutting down on taxpayer’s money.

Those interested in a position with CCRS can contact LaMotte at (434) 547-0314.