Mehlville Fire policy change affects task force pay


Photo by Jessica Belle Kramer.

MFPD firefighter-medics David Wideman and Capt. Nick Larosa pull Jared Sarni out of the water during a mock water rescue practice in 2018.

By Erin Achenbach, Staff Repoter

The Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors was set to vote on a proposal to make changes to the district’s employee manual regarding pay while deployed for disaster assistance Wednesday — after The Call went to press.

The board said they would vote on the changes to the Employee Manual of Policies and Procedures, or EMoPP, at the meeting slated for Wednesday.

Chief Brian Hendricks first discussed the changes with fire board members at the Sept. 23 meeting. Some Mehlville firefighters participate in Missouri Task Force One and Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue deployments. The task force assists local emergency agencies facing disasters both in Missouri and out of state.

Hendricks told the board that the recommended change to the EMoPP would not allow employees to use accrued vacation time or sick leave while deployed with the task force or other disaster response agency.

“This will not stop our employees from being a part of Missouri Task Force One … however, basically what we’re asking them to do is go unpaid,” said Hendricks. “They’ll already get paid through FEMA. … They don’t need to get paid by us as well.”

Because it is a change to the employee manual, the changes will have to be reviewed by the local union which represents Mehlville firefighters, Local 2665 of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

“We’re having to cover their shifts at time and a half, and (currently) they’re getting paid from us as well as the federal government,” Hendricks said. “It’s just a minor change.”

No board members had questions or comments about the proposed changes.

So far this year, Missouri Task Force One deployed to Texas for Hurricane Laura and Louisiana for Hurricane Sally, along with Oregon to fight wildfires. A specialist also went to Puerto Rico. Boone County Fire Protection District manages the task force.