The debate over moving Bradley County EMS employees to 24-hour shifts continues. The county needs to stay within their overtime budget, but some employees aren't sure if the proposed change is fair.

They are the ones that respond when every second counts. Now, EMS workers in Bradley County are taking a look at their time spent on the clock.

"We have an issue with overtime pay getting out of control,” Johnny Mull said.

Commissioner Mull oversees the Emergency Services Committee. This fiscal year, the county has paid more than $400,000 in overtime pay to EMS workers.

The committee proposed a change in shifts to alleviate overtime. Instead of eight hours, they would work 24 hours, then have 48 hours off.
It might sound like more time off but employees see it differently.       

"Employees found that out and said we're going to work 840 more hours and not getting paid any more for working those hours,” Mull explained.

Another option is to stay at eight hours but hire 16 new employees. Mull said this could help reduce overtime, but it would cost about $900,000 in additional payroll. Currently, there are 63 EMS workers.

In a survey asking employees which system they would prefer, only two said, they want to move to a 24-hour system. It’s these factors commissioners will weigh to determine what's next.

"So is it worth that, is it worth the morale, the fatigue etc."