Firefighters who battle forest fires in Florida will not be getting pay raises because of Gov. Rick Scott’s vetoes.
The Legislature has set aside $1.6 million in the state budget to give the state’s 606 Forest Service firefighters each a $2,000 a year pay raise.
“I am profoundly disappointed,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said on Tuesday after learning of the veto. “Our forest firefighters put their lives on the line. They are demonstratively underpaid relative to peers.”
The vetoes come as Florida fire fighters are battling an unusually high number of fires. On Friday the state was fighting 90 active wildfires, Putnam said. And since January the state has dealt with 1,440 fires on over 30,000 acres. The Florida Panhandle, North Florida and Florida Atlantic Coast are all facing a high wildfire threat.
Putnam questioned the lack of consistency in the vetoes, noting other government employees in less dangerous jobs will get raises, but not the fire fighters.
“I’m even more disappointed that it wasn’t applied consistently,” Putnam said. The helpful people who take your drivers license photo were allowed to receive a pay raise. And our forest firefighters who put their lives on the line were not.”