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Firefighters protest chief's raise

By Staff
CRITICISM Firefighters Gerald Mabry, left, and Jay Mackey express their thoughts about Fire Chief Bunky Partridge's 15 percent pay raise awarded in October. On the table at Fire Station No. 3 is a T-shirt Mabry designed and gave away as gifts to his co-workers; the shirt features a slogan on the back criticizing the chief. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
Dec. 27, 2001
While firefighters across the country are being recognized as modern day heroes, some with the Meridian Fire Department feel ignored by the city.
When the mayor gave Fire Chief Bunky Partridge a 15 percent raise in October, but nothing to city workers, one firefighter decided to do something about it.
Gerald Mabry gave fellow firefighters T-shirts for Christmas that say on the back, "We work hard so he doesn't have to. There is no I' in TEAM, but there sure is a M' and a E.'"
On the front, the shirts say "Meridian Firefighter, The Poor but the Proud."
Partridge could not be reached for comment. His secretary, Shannon Ingram, said this morning the fire chief is on vacation and will not be back until Jan. 7. Mayor John Robert Smith also could not be reached for comment.
Unequal distribution
At a roundtable discussion Wednesday at Fire Station No. 3, Mabry and other firefighters criticized the fire chief, the mayor and city leaders.
The roundtable comes after the mayor upped Partridge's annual salary from $54,329 to $62,329 and after city leaders said they couldn't afford raises for city workers.
Jay Mackey, a 13-year MFD veteran and a captain at Fire Station No. 3, joined the debate about the chief's pay raise.
Firefighters claim
chief doesn't get it
Mackey complained that Partridge does little of the work that other firefighters do.
Doing their jobs
By the end of the conversation, four other firefighters had joined the group.
Even though the morale is low, firefighters say they will continue to do their job.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at