Atlanta firefighter says he was forced to leave over lack of pay

The Atlanta Fire Union this week issued a warning about firefighters having to leave their jobs due to their pay being stagnant.

Well, it is already happening. While the mayor and the city council debate the budget, a four-and-a-half year veteran said he and his wife had to make a difficult choice.

Sean Vollmer said despite a couple of modest increases given by Mayor Kasim Reed over the past five years, he has actually lost money due to government employee costs rising. Vollmer said his net paycheck just before he resigned late 2014 was less than his first week on the job.

Tensions over public safety pay have risen lately as the mayor vowed not to give any new raises while a pension lawsuit, led by the fire and police unions, is hanging out there. Reed said the lawsuit is wrong because it could potentially jeopardize the future financial health of the city.

He also believes the unions don't have a leg to stand on because they were at the table when the pension program was being debated.

For their part, Whitney and Sean Vollmer are out of the city hall back and forth. Sean Vollmer has a new career in the private sector. They also have a new three-and-a-half week baby boy to care for. Vollmer said he just couldn't depend on a city salary to raise a family.

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