CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The preliminary results of the compensation survey conducted by the City of Charleston will be discussed at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Pay is a serious factor in not being able to fill dozens of spots with the city’s ranks. It’s a problem that’s been seen on the front lines.

“For non-sworn year to date,” Ryan Landry, compensation and human resources data manager with the City of Charleston, said, “we’ve hired 82 employees. Eighty-nine have separated. For fire, we’ve hired 27, lost 17. For police, we’ve hired 15 and lost 16 for a total of 124 new hires, 122 separations, for a net gain of two.”

The city says their non-sworn staffing currently sits at 75 percent, police staffing is at 90 percent and fires is 95 percent.

“The fire department,” Landry said, “they have big classes, which is where you see big spikes in their staffing level because they bring on a large number at once. Police holds relatively stable, they had small dip sort of right as COVID kicked off. They’ve started to recover their staffing levels a little bit. And then for the white line, for the non-sworn, the staffing level has essentially maintained pretty downward tick.”

Vice president of the Professional Firefighters association, William Pesature, says many firefighters are leaving because they’re not paid well.

“The benefits are not great for families,” Pesature said. So, they’re not taking the jobs. There’s no more career. The career firefighter is on the demise right now, I think, in South Carolina. It’s going down, and one of the major reasons is it doesn’t pay enough for living.”

“After we asked what your reasons for leaving are,” Landry said, “we asked you to rank them. Essentially, which ones are most, which ones are least. “For 2022 essentially, pay became such a higher ranking issue, that it’s now essentially two and a half margins ahead.”

The city council meeting will be held Tuesday, May 24, starting at 5:00 p.m.