Where to Work Roanoke City, Roanoke County, or Salem?

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This is an often debated question. Where should you work Roanoke City, Roanoke County, or Salem?

Since I work in Roanoke City, I will offer you an issue that we face here in the City as opposed to Roanoke County or Salem. One that is a huge problem and probably the most important given the potential danger in our profession.

The problem is Disability Retirement. Text below is directly from Roanoke City Code (link)

Sec. 22.2-51. Occupational disability retirement allowance.
(a) Eligibility. Upon the application of a member in service or the head of such member’s department, any member who has been totally and permanently incapacitated for duty as a natural and proximate result of an accident occurring while in the actual performance of duty at some definite time and place without willful negligence on his part may be retired by the board on an occupational disability retirement allowance not more than one (1) year after the filing of such application; provided that the board’s medical examiner or examiners shall certify after medical examination (i) that such member is mentally or physically totally incapacitated for the further performance of any gainful employment for which the member is qualified with his most recent participating employers, (ii) that such incapacity is the natural and proximate result of an accident occurring while in the actual performance of duty, and (iii) that such incapacity is likely to be permanent.
(b) Amount of benefit. The occupational disability retirement allowance shall be equal to sixty-six and two-thirds (66 2/3) percent of a member’s average final compensation. This benefit shall be reduced by workers’ compensation benefits as provided for in section 22.2-53. This benefit shall not be reduced due to payment commencing prior to normal retirement age.

The emphasis above was mine.

The issue with the bold and italic text above basically says that if you become disabled from your job, you can be place in another position of “gainful employment”. That gainful employment would naturally be any position within the City that you are able to do.

In other words, even though you were injured as a firefighter you can become a ticket collector at the Civic Center. The fact that you put in time and risked your life as a firefighter for Roanoke City and the Citizens of Roanoke City is not an issue.

You should have a problem with this. Everyone should have a problem with this! Everyone should be doing something abou this.

I can tell you that I have spoke with Council members about this and the outlook is bleak. They care about the ampitheater, the market building, the Social Security building, and the art museum more than they care about us getting hurt.

Let me show you the other side of the fence (the Roanoke County and Salem Firefighters). These guys/gals operate under the Virginia Retirement System (VRS).

The VRS Disability Retirement (link)

If you are unable to perform your job because of a physical or mental disability and the disability is likely to be permanent, you may be eligible to apply for disability retirement benefits through the Virginia Retirement System (VRS).

Your eligibility begins on the first day of employment in a VRS-covered position. Any medical condition you have when you are first employed, however, must worsen substantially for you to be considered for disability retirement. You also must apply for disability retirement while employed in a VRS-covered position or within 90 days of leaving employment.

Therefore, I will pose the question to you. Where would you rather work?

Sure there are other arguments, but most pale in comparison to the one above.

I am hearing rumors that anywhere from 6-12 Roanoke City Firefighters have put in for the open positions in Salem.

If you are wondering how many firefighters will be hired this next round, I am hearing that the City and County will both hire 12 each and Salem will hire 6. Do not take that as fact though, I do not have the exact numbers.

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