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July 18th, 2005
08:58 am


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Seen in the Metro
"The minimum average starting salary for a firefighter is $29,316."

Huh? What exactly does this mean? Does this mean they saw a range of starting salaries that said it was an average, and then picked the minimum of that range? Or is "minimum" here redundant for "starting"? Any other ideas what a "minimum average starting salary" is?

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:July 18th, 2005 01:03 pm (UTC)
I would imagine that firefighters have a graded salary system, where pay grades have a set bottom and top. However, these ranges vary across the country. I think they are saying "The average for the bottom of this range is"
[User Picture]
Date:July 18th, 2005 01:34 pm (UTC)
Ah, so the way you're interpreting it, it should actually have been written "average minimum starting salary", which makes a bit more sense.
[User Picture]
Date:July 18th, 2005 02:19 pm (UTC)
It does, but perhaps we can make sense of it as written.

Suppose that each community has a number of firefighters, who come in at the lowest grade. But some have a higher starting salary (because of their family situation, or experience, or something). So each community can calculate an "average starting salary".

Then, among all the communities, we take the minimum of those.

Given that there are lies, damn lies, and statistics, I wouldn't be surprised if the wording actually is painfully accurate, because this allowed them to get the most shockingly low number. After all, it would only take a single community to pull the minimum down, but the word "average" is still in there, to make it look as if it represents some broad trend.

Date:July 18th, 2005 02:34 pm (UTC)
I would say it means the "average for a starting salary is..." I would guess that means there are lower and higher starting salaries out there.
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