Ag Commissioner Putnam 'Disappointed' Gov. Vetoes Forestry Firefighters' Pay Raises

Jun 23, 2015

Florida Agriculture Adam Putnam speaking to reporters, following Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.
Credit Florida Channel

The state’s Agriculture Commissioner says he’s disappointed Governor Rick Scott vetoed Pay raises for forestry firefighters—a top priorities of the Florida Department of Agriculture.

Among the long list of Governor Scott’s budget vetoes is a $1.6 million appropriation for a $2,000 raise for each of the state’s 606 Florida Forest Service Firefighters.

“The Legislature did not put in the budget pay increases for state workers, other than that one and Highway Safety,” said Scott, following a Cabinet meeting Tuesday. In Highway Safety’s case, they’re seeing a shortage of applicants. And, so that was the rationale.”

But, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says the state’s forestry firefighters were under similar constraints and doesn’t understand the Governor’s veto.

“I’m profoundly disappointed,” said Putnam. “Our forest firefighters put their lives on the line. They’re demonstrably underpaid, relative to peers.”

So far in June, Putnam says lightning from scattered thunderstorm has triggered 122 wildfires—doubling last year’s numbers. And, he adds during this active wildfire season, a raise was the least the state could do to repay their sacrifice.

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