Billboards demand raises for Atlanta police, firefighters - FOX 35 News Orlando

Billboards demand raises for Atlanta police, firefighters

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ATLANTA -

The wives of Atlanta police and firefighters have put up billboards telling Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta City Council to give their spouses a pay raise.

The group of wives held fundraisers to pay for the billboards to send that message to City Hall.

"We mean business. We are serious about getting our first responders and dispatchers a raise," said Kelly Uhlis, the wife of an Atlanta police officer.

Under a plan announced by Reed last week, public safety officers would receive a 1 percent pay raise. Uhlis said that plan would only add a few extra dollars to his paycheck every pay period.

"My husband's check has gone down significantly. He has to work two to three extra jobs a week just to be able to make our bills," said Uhlis.

She said those extra jobs cut into family time.

"The kids are asking for their dad. They want to know why he is not home. I have to carry -- we as wives and husbands have to carry a lot of the battle on our own," said Uhlis.

Reed has defended his commitment to public safety workers.

"When I came into office, I was facing a $48 million budget shortfall. I gave the police the first step increase that they had received – a 3.5 percent raise -- in six years. The additional 1 percent means they would have gotten 4.5 percent since I have been mayor, in more than 3.5 years. Show me any leader who has done more for their police department than I have," Reed said.

FOX 5's Morse Diggs notes that the year after the workers were given the 3.5 percent raise, workers gave back essentially 5 percent to help the city with pension contributions.

Uhlis said that they'd like a minimum of a 5 percent raise.

Wives of first responders are expected to lobby at City Hall later this week on behalf of their husbands.

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