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The firefighters wage deal is good for both sides

Original post made by Tim Hunt, Castlewood, on Aug 27, 2012

Both firefighters and police officers in Pleasanton must realize how good they have it.

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Comments (3)

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Posted by San Ramon Observer
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


I saw the thread in the Town Square forum addressing this commentary, but none of those posters chose to answer you here. Knowing how conservative you usually are, I'm surprised to see your support for Union Contracts with Police and Fire Fighters.

I'm not pro-union but I'm not anti-union either. There's always potential for abuse on either side and that's what should be controlled, not blaming unions for everything.

Police and Fire Fighters have dangerous jobs and they never know when the danger will be there, even when it appears to be safe. These people deserve special consideration because they are there to protect us. I don't live in Pleasanton, but when I am in Pleasanton to shop or dine or attend an event, I like knowing that the people responsible for public safety are the best in the region.

Our Fire Department in San Ramon is exceptional. Our Police Department is outstanding. I would not begrudge them any benefits from the city, but the State retirement plan is insane. This isn't the fault of local unions, but of our out of control legislators. I'd rather see State Assembly members' pay cut than that of public safety employees.

Roz Rogoff
San Ramon Observer

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Posted by GX
a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm

GX is a registered user.

Mr. Hunt - Biased at half-complete summary articles like yours are becoming quite tiresome. As I challenged the City Council, I also challenge you to a public debate where I will use the city's own information to demonstrate how late and inadequate this latest contract is. Please do let me know if you are up for this. In the meantime, let me help you complete your article so that Pleasanton residents can be more informed.

-The new contract still contains STEP raises which the typical fire employee gets every 6-12 months
- Fire received COLA raises in the 2000's every single year all the way through 2009 – this means they were getting raised through the first two years of the recession
- NET, the average fire personnel cost increased dramatically over this past decade to $235K/person

-The only reason why the police rate is lower than fire is because the city decided to pay off the $9M side fund, otherwise it would be much higher
-I'm sure the city is pleased with you publishing the 25.2% number without the context as it makes the problem with them seem less bad

-Fire like other agencies received huge retroactive increases to their pensions – for Fire it was 50%
-This give-away was not supposed to cost citizens any extra
-Clearly this did not happen which helps explain why our unfunded liability exploded from zero

-Employees appear more willing because they are not being asked to give up much other than contribute to their own pensions
-The vast majority of concessions will be forced on future employees
-Future employees and citizens are being sacrificed to protect current employees

-Your quoted numbers are laughable and show that you are being fooled by whatever information source you are using
-While these may be accurate, I can guarantee you this is not what they are taking home due to how the system is gamed
- How about starting with the $235K/person number I gave you and challenge/investigate the incomplete information you are being given

-If newspapers like yours and the City Council did their jobs, there wouldn't be any need for citizens to get more involved – trust me we would prefer to being doing other things
- We are tired of the growing problem (known since 2003) not being adequately addressed and the future of Pleasanton being dimmed because of this
-Just in this past year, the Council agreed to decrease the $121M (MVA) unfunded liability by 10% over 5 years – instead it has grown by $16M to $137M
-This wipes out by far any savings in this contract – in fact it wipes out most of the savings if not all of all recent contract concessions

Again, I'd be happy to debate anyone on this topic. Maybe then we'd determine who is doing their job and who is whining.

Like this comment
Posted by GX
a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm

GX is a registered user.

There are a lot more dangerous jobs than fire - in fact fire doesn't even make it to the list of top 10:

- Fishermen
- Loggers
- Pilots
- Farmers/ranchers
- Miners
- Roofers
- Garbagemen
- Drivers
- Maintenancemen
- Police

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Please don't get fooled by this tired and false argument to justify unsustainable compensation/pension.

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