Fairfax County firefighters and paramedics, upset that the county has raised police officers' salaries but has not acted on their career development plan, began a job action yesterday.

Under the protest, Fire and Rescue Department employes abandoned an informal policy of reporting to work early and staying late without charging the county, said Eric S. Lamar, president of the Fairfax County Professional Fire Fighters. He said the practice helps workers exchange information during shift changes and saves the county thousands of dollars in overtime.

"We are extremely upset. We think we've been treated unfairly," said Lamar, who stressed that the measure would not disrupt service to residents.

In April, the County Board of Supervisors voted to spend $1.1 million to cover a reduction in the number of years of service required between salary steps for police officers.

Richard King, deputy county executive for public safety, called the firefighters' job action premature "in light of the board's stated position to review that plan when finalized at midyear budget review."

Fire Chief Warren Isman, who said the job action would create "some increase" in overtime costs, was even more forthright: "I believe that the county has every indication of supporting" the development plan.