Investigations

Hillsborough Co. survey mirrors union findings on fire rescue problems

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) - Hillsborough County commissioners have gotten their first peek at a fire rescue study for which taxpayers doled out about $150,000.

That study will tell them what 8 On Your Side revealed last August - there is a morale problem at Hillsborough Fire Rescue. Firefighters say they do not feel the department is doing enough to reduce fatigue and mental health issues.

The study conducted by Mian Talent Solutions was commissioned after Hillsborough Firefighters Union Local 2294 conducted its own study. That study revealed four in 10 union members would leave their jobs if the could find another employment opportunity with equal pay and benefits.

The results of the new survey are strikingly similar.  

Mian's initial report to commissioners will tell them only 9% of those surveyed feel their workgroup has enough resources to effectively service the community.  Only 27% believe fire rescue is taking proactive steps to deal with employee emotional and mental health.

The union's study showed 79% of those surveyed disagreed that the fire chief and department administration are taking the right approach to improving the mental health and wellbeing of firefighters, paramedics and dispatchers.

Last year, County Administrator Mike Merrill indicated he felt the union's study was conducted during contract negotiations and might have been used as a bargaining tool.  

The contract is settled and the county's results are very similar to what the union found.

So what does the county do now? 

Watch Steve Andrews' full story Wednesday night at 6 on News Channel 8.


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