Below is the DeKalb Fire Department Wage Schedule for the current fiscal year.

Click on either page for a larger version, and once more to really zoom in.

After you’ve had a skim, make the jump to see how things work out in real life.

Here is base salary information from August 2011:

Observation One: There are no “firefighters.” DeKalb does not hire firefighters. De facto entry level is firefighter/paramedic, something to keep in mind as you look at starting wages.

Observation Two: The vast majority of Fire Department employees have reached Step “H” pay grade or above. In wage records of 52 FD employees from August 2011, 31 are firefighter/paramedics at “Step H” with base annual wages of $77,697, and 10 are lieutenant/paramedics at $85,536. There are also two captains ($84,536), three battalion chiefs ($92,038) and a training battalion chief ($97,371).

Observation Three: It does not take seven years to climb to Step H. Of nine hired firefighter/paramedics who started in 2006 or 2007, all but one have reached H already. According to the contract,

Employees covered by this Agreement shall advance to the next step in the salary schedule at the beginning of the pay period following the anniversary date of their appointment or promotion each year until they have advanced to the last step of the salary schedule.

The exception I’ve found to taking one Step per year is when an educational level above high school is reached, in which case the employee is eligible for “one additional salary increment”. But seeing as none of the 2006-7 hires has reached more than the fourth or fifth anniversary, there’s an appearance of a “fast track” that is not explained in the Wages section of the contract.