Duplin County commissioners raise EMS workers pay

DUPLIN COUNTY, NC (WITN) - Duplin County Commissioners approved a pay raise for emergency medical service staff as Duplin and many counties experience industry-wide staffing challenges.
Leaders say the increase is a compromise between the EMS Department proposal, and what Duplin County leaders say the budget allows for.
Last month, the Duplin County EMS Department proposed a 17 percent pay raise for all staff. Monday night, county commissioners approved a 10 percent pay raise for paramedics, which the county has struggled to keep on staff.
With the raise, paramedic pay will be $16.44 an hour, however, neighboring counties offer above $17.00 and in some cases, $18 an hour for the same position.
One Duplin County paramedic said his resignation is effective in seven days because his paycheck is not enough to support his family. He is reconsidering now that he’d be paid more.
Still, he said the 10 percent raise is not a permanent solution when it comes to the impact the relatively low pay has on patient care.
Paramedic Gregory Carr said, “We have lost some fantastic paramedics to the pay gap and that while no situation works out ideally in what we do, I feel there are people that are better able to manage those situations with less morbidity, less mortality.”
Carr said, he has worked up to 4 jobs at a time, and even though he’d like to be able to support his family solely by being a first responder. 
According to local paramedics, many Duplin County paramedics have been unable to support their families with their paramedic jobs, and the pay raise may not be enough to change the situation.
The EMS Director said paramedics agree the raise is a step in the right direction and they may propose another pay raise for the next fiscal year.
The Duplin County manager said taxes will not increase due to the EMS raise.