To: Tim Hunt Around Town, posted by Arnold, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 28, 2012 at 3:08 am
"A starting firefighter makes $5,800 a month, while those at the top salary step (no. 6) make $7,405 or $88,860 annually. To make more than this, a firefighter must be promoted to engineer or captain.
To the critics who whined about this settlement, chill. The city has worked with its unions to reach reasonable accommodations and is one of the leaders in doing in the state.
Yes, the situation needed to be addressed and total employee costs as a percent of the overall budget still need to come down. But, there has been significant movement in the right direction in key groups."
Tim, you have no idea what you're talking about. It is this gross mis-represantation of the truth that confuses the issue. A first year Firefighter with only a 12th grade education can earn a compensation package worth more than 100K per year.
If you don't believe me I'm willing to debate the issue, with you, right here on this forum for everyone to see.
"To the critics who whined about this settlement, chill. The city has worked with its unions to reach reasonable accommodations and is one of the leaders in doing in the state."
- No, Tim. That statement coundn't be further from the truth. It is BS!
Posted by P-Town Neighbor, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Aug 28, 2012 at 9:19 am
We all need to tighten our belts and this includes firefighters.
I really believe the payment wage system needs to be looked at. Start with paying the firefighters a basic wage of say $45,000 to $50,000 a year. They they earn extra pay (called hazard pay) or something like that when they really go into hazardous situations (like fires). But towns like Pleasanton or say Milpitas which is mostly industrial and the bldgs are sprinklered - well those people do not need hige wages to clean their fire trucks and do courtesy calls on the businesses to check their fire extiguisers...
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Aug 28, 2012 at 9:47 am Kathleen Ruegsegger is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Mr. Hunt has a long career as a journalist/editor and is a long (lifetime?) resident of Pleasanton. He has become a regular commenter for the PW in recent months. The oriignal post by Tim Hunt that relates to this posting: Web Link
Posted by Desiree, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Aug 28, 2012 at 9:48 am
Too bad policeman and firefighters won't be able to afford to live in the city they are sworn to protect. Suck it up people all of them risk their lives everyday never knowing if they will return to there own family while protecting yours.
Posted by WitchHunt, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 28, 2012 at 10:07 am
To P-Town Neighbor: So how do you propose to track when someone should get hazard pay? That would probably take another admin spot to track. And what would determine "hazard pay"? Just fire calls? What about freeway calls?
I am so tired of the public servant bashing and teacher bashing. It isn't their unions that are dragging the economy down. While I believe in tightening the belt, it seems like people are wanting to attack them as the enemy. They are not the enemy. Look what is happening in San Jose. Police officers retiring or lateraling to different cities so they can still afford to live in the bay area and support their families. San Jose is down in police protection so crime is up.
I also want to know what will happen when the economy turns around and corporations are back to pre-2002 status and hiring and paying out huge bonuses. Will you then give city employees bonuses? Probably not.
Posted by WitchHunt, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 28, 2012 at 10:11 am
I also wonder if all of your who are complaining about the unions were in a union job would you be complaining? Or trying to protect your job and rights? If you say that you would be excited to take pay cuts and cutting into your bottom line you would be a liar.
Posted by Member, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm
All benefit from a unionized workplace. Private sector jobs know that people will leave for jobs with better benefits and pay. Instead of people trying to bring down the unions- bring your company to the level of the unionized workforce. If that takes organizing your workplace then so be it. Why bring your fellow Americans down?
The Firefighters proposed contract is a significant savings to both cities. Keep in mind that they negotiate with the COP and COL. Going from paying 2% of PERS to 9% in two years is substantial. Many would have a hard time cutting7% of your pay in just two years time. With this, the COP will also save PERS on PERS costs which is also substantial. Tiering the retirement to 3% @ 55 will save more and more money to the city as time goes on. Also, going to a health savings account after retirement will substantially reduce health care burdens for the city. This is a huge structural reset. Keep in mind this is only in two years time. You have to be willing to except that it takes some time for change and it cannot all be done at once.
The COP has a significant rainy day fund as well. The city is not in a bad position. Unfunded liabilities will decrease as the economy improves and actuarial increase. We are coming out of this recession and things are getting better.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of the Heritage Oaks neighborhood, on Aug 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm
I believe every firefighter for LPFD earned over $100,000.00 last year. I'm not saying this is happening, but there is a lot of sick leave abuses in several fire depts. IF you dont like your shift, you call in sick......then whoever works for you gets OT for the entire shift. Then next week, the person who covered for you calls in sick, and you volunteer to work the extra shift while on OT.......
Posted by maria, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Sep 1, 2012 at 12:58 am
I have a suggestion for everyone who is constantly complaining about the "obscene" salaries of policemen, firefighters, and teachers: become a policeman, firefighter, or teacher. You too can enjoy a cozy, stress-free work day. You'll get to pull someone over and approach the car not knowing if the driver has a weapon. Or maybe you can report to the scene of an automobile accident and use the jaws of life to extract a mangled teenager from the car. Or perhaps you can stand in front of 180 high school kids every day and try to teach them math while they text their friends and post on facebook that their math teacher is a d-bag, and then answer emails from their parents wanting to know what more their kid can do to improve his or her grade. And I'm certain that if we cut the salaries and benefits of these public servants that it will inspire more people to go into these cush jobs. Where do I sign up to become a teacher? I want to get a couple of degrees and then have 8-10 furlough days and pay almost $2000/month for Kaiser medical insurance and then have people whine about my salary.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Sep 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm
Unless the public is the adversary of the public employee union, who will be? Politicians have proven themselves to be unable to say no when bargaining with public employee unions, so who IS able to say no?
The public employee unions, and lack of political leadership have made the general public the adversary to the public employee unions. Everyone appreciates and respects the jobs done by good police, firefighters and teachers, but we must also play a difficult role of bargaining with their unions.
So please stop with the false premise that we hate or don't appreciate public employees. That's like saying that management at Ford Motors hates or doesn't appreciate their employees.
We hire and pay public employee salaries, so I hope that gives us a right to question whether a particular salary and benefit package is appropriate.
As in any negotiation, you start with a lowball and work toward the middle. It seems as if the public employee unions want to frighten us into starting in the middle and work our way into an unaffordable position.
So in the end, we'll end up paying public employees what the market can bear, just like any other job. It's not personal. We're just your boss and it's business.
Posted by Unbelievable, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 25, 2012 at 11:01 pm
Witchunt, member, Maria, etc, you say relax the market will come back and take care of the numbers. You are SO far off base, You don't even get how corrupt and calculating you are. The market is NOT the problem. The problem existed BEFORE the turn in the market. The double dipping, shift manipulations, and YES, OBSCENE retirements are wrong. The greed is wrong. The lack of financial sharing and responsibility for your own retirement.
Sadly, you prove the war must go on...you simply do NOT 'GET IT"
Posted by further than the truth, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 25, 2012 at 11:15 pm
This is further than the truth. The men and women in our fire and police departments are educated. Bachelor and Master Degrees. They have to be educated to do the job. It's physical and mental. Those who complain about fire and police should only blame themselves for not being educated, mentally and physically to do their job.
Posted by Question, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 27, 2012 at 7:17 am
Help me with the math please, How can you retire at 50 with 30 years of service if you had a masters degree? And if the job is such a difficult job, why do we have hundreds of applications for each job opening? And finally, why do I see 50+ year old retired firefighters out golfing at Wente and Callippe golf courses, because they appear too young for retirement and being put out to pasture.