This article is republished from Press & Guide, originally written by Briana Gaskorski and can be found here.
While COVID-19 continues to spread, many communities and businesses have offered bonuses, pay increases, hazard pay and other incentives for essential employees and first responders. Dearborn Councilman Mike Sareini believes Dearborn should do the same.
During a recent council meeting, Sareini requested the city to provide council information regarding hazardous duty pay for first responders.
“We need the research before we can put together a resolution,” he said. “We can’t just decide on a method and a monetary amount without having the data to show what will be best suited for our community.”
With the death toll continuing to rise, Sareini said he knows several people who have tested positive for the virus or have lost their life due to COVID-19.
“Someone mentioned the hazardous pay to me a couple weeks ago and I began doing my research,” he said. “This is a very serious thing.”
Sareini said that no monetary amount is an equal trade-off.
“The monetary amount is in no way a trade-off for the work that these men and women are doing during this pandemic,” he said. “I just hope that it shows our support and appreciation for the work that they are doing.”
While other communities are doing different things, Sareini said that the city of Dearborn is in a better place financially and he believes this is necessary.
“The police chief, fire chief, and financial director will retrieve the data and present it back to us so a resolution can be brought forward,” he said. “It usually takes about 10 days or less. It’s possible that backdated pay from the start of this may be requested. It’s up to them to bring forth their findings and what they think is the best option.”
Sareini also said it’s a priority for first responders to be given this as they don’t really have a choice.
“They don’t get the option of social distancing,” he said. “They don’t have all the ways of protecting themselves that we do. The police and fire departments don’t have a choice.”
While residents across the state and even country are required to stay home, Sareini said that should be appreciated.
“We should appreciate that we have the ability to stay home,” he said. “As we are all at home safe, they are putting their lives at risk to keep us safe and anything we can do to show support and appreciation should be done.”