San Jose fire union’s dire claims demolished by 10,000 LAFD job-seekers

San Jose fire union’s dire claims demolished by 10,000 LAFD job-seekers

san.jose.fdThe Rough & Tumble news aggregation website had an unusually helpful juxtaposition of two California news stories on Wednesday. R&T linked to a Mercury-News story detailing how San Jose had finally been given a court’s clearance to implement a pension plan in which newly hired firefighters got less generous retirement benefits than the old norm.

[The] firefighters union says the cuts will lead to fewer job applicants, much in the way recruitment has slowed for the short-staffed police department, which is dealing with the same pension cuts. …

“City Hall is hell bent on doing to the fire department what they have done to the police department and the results will be the same; firefighters will leave San Jose and 911 emergency response times will increase,” firefighters union president Joel Phelan said in a statement.

But just beneath the San Jose story was a link to a Los Angeles Times story about a flap over how L.A.’s city fire department was handling the hiring of new firefighters. It noted that there had been 10,000 applicants seeking to be in a fire trainee recruit class of 300 people.

10,000! Oh, yeah, reduced benefits in San Jose will keep jobs unfilled.

Police officers are legitimately in demand; even the fiscal conservative Republican who’s mayor of California’s second largest city fully acknowledges that they need to be paid better or they’ll be lost to rival agencies.

Firefighters are vastly easier to come by. The job is far less dangerous than it used to be and the policy of having firefighters work several full days in a row and then get big chunks of time off allows many to simultaneously pursue second careers.

Nevertheless, firefighters try to free ride on police recruiting woes by saying they face the same problem — and the same risk to their personal safety — all so they can get just as generous wages and benefits.

It’s not true — as Rough & Tumble’s presumably inadvertent juxtaposition makes clear.

Craigslist ads bring in plenty of applicants

Happily enough, this post gives me a reason to mention a splendid ploy executed by San Diego small-government activist Richard Rider in 2006 and 2007 when firefighters and the city claimed it was really difficult to get qualified applicants for San Diego Fire Department openings. That just wasn’t true — as Richard established with the use of Craigslist ads in San Diego, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Sacramento, Chicago and New York City informing qualified firefighters how they could apply for jobs with the city fire agency.


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  1. Wolfman
    Wolfman 25 September, 2014, 09:40

    big government pensions and benefits are bankrupting the system

    Reply this comment
  2. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 25 September, 2014, 10:08

    Police and fire jobs aren’t even listed in the top 10 most dangerous occupations in America. I think the author has a distorted perception of the danger of police jobs because whenever a cop gets killed it automatically becomes a headline story. After a cop’s funeral there’s a caravan of police cars and motorcycles to the gravesight that blocks traffic in all directions for hours. We’re forced to notice. But when a cab driver, a construction worker, a utility worker, a tree pruner, a fisherman, a roofer, or a ditch digger dies on the job we don’t even hear about it.

    A firefighting job is one of the biggest scams around. What other job that pays a STARTING COMPENSATION of around $150,000 (salary, OT, pension, health care, other allowances) would require only a GED or high school degree to qualify?

    The author of this article didn’t mention that the selection process for the hiring of firefighers in the City of Los Angeles was RIGGED to favor those with relatives already on the force. This was a BIG scandal reported by the LA Times. Insiders were given specific instructions about call-in times to register their physical certifications which virtually eliminated about 80% of their competition, some of whom scored higher on their previous tests. But what would you expect to happen when GED and HS grads are able to land jobs paying a STARTING COMPENSATION of $150,000?

    It’s no different with cops. They get about the same starting compensations. Look what happened in the County of LA. The former Sheriff Lee Baca was allowing friends and relatives to jump to the front of the line when there were deputy job openings. You think this doesn’t happen in most departments? heh. Stop being so naive.

    Cops don’t need to get paid more. That’s a huge crock. When I was a kid cops made VERY AVERAGE compensations and didn’t become pension millionaires. At that time there wasn’t any problem recruiting qualified applicants to become police officers. In fact, it was HIGHLY COMPETITIVE. So the ruse that we have to pay cops MORE to keep attracting qualified applicants is total horse crap. A simple review of the historical past proves me correct on this topic.

    And the more we paid cops the dirtier they became. There is more corruption in the police departments today than there ever has been. How do you explain that? Is ‘dirtier’ more qualified??? heh. 😀

    Reply this comment
  3. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 25 September, 2014, 14:20

    Thanks for the mention, Chris. It WAS a fun ploy, advertising the firefighter openings (something most fire departments are loath to do). It cost us about $300 for the ads, and well worth it. We never heard anything more from the city about any supposed dearth of applicants.

    Speaking of firefighters: In January of this year, I updated my research on the mortality rates for both police and firefighters. I was actually surprised myself to find that the mortality rate for both occupations is dropping rapidly. Here’s my blog item on this and a summary of findings:

    “Mortality risk for police and firefighters surprisingly low — and dropping rapidly”
    by Richard Rider

    SUMMATION: Updated data from reputable (even pro-labor union) sources show that the mortality risk for police and firefighters is lower than most people think. It’s even significantly lower than I found in previous research just a few years ago — when the police and firefighter mortality figures were both about 16-17 deaths per hundred thousand — vs. the (current) national all-occupation average mortality rate of 3.5 per 100K).

    Today the national mortality figure for full-time paid firefighters is about 11.1 per 100K. Certainly more dangerous than most people’s work, but now roughly on a par with “Athletes, Coaches and Umpires” (see the table of occupations in my blog).

    Even more dramatic, in California, the police and sheriff average mortality rate (2008-2012) was only 4.9 per 100K — only modestly above the 3.5 mortality average for all U.S. jobs. Millions of jobs are more dangerous than being a cop or firefighter — often MUCH more dangerous. A table of some of the more dangerous occupations is included.

    Reply this comment
  4. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 25 September, 2014, 14:49

    One big mistake that the city of San Diego (and I suspect San Jose) does is they have their own firefighter training program (run at a community college). In San Diego County, a county of 3.1 million people, EVERY other city hires their firefighters from graduating community college (or private) programs. No taxpayer training costs.

    But even sillier is the fact that, unlike the regular community college graduates, these San Diego Fire Department students get a salary (about $30,000) and benefits while they ATTEND SCHOOL.

    But that’s not all. Once the San Diego FD students graduate as firefighters, they have ZERO obligation to the city. They can immediately sign with another fire department, and the city (with its taxpayers) is left high and dry. They don’t have to pay back a dime to the city.


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  5. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 25 September, 2014, 15:09

    What is the formal educational requirement to become a generously paid FF in San Diego? Do they allow GED’s or HS grads to ride in their big red trucks too?

    Someone should do a study and determine what percent of newly hired FF recruits have relatives who are active or retired FF’s, or high ranking officials in the local municipal or county government? I bet it would be an eye popper.

    Go read about how the FF selection process was rigged in Los Angeles. It’s quite a story. Equal employment opportunity my……

    Reply this comment
    • Richard Rider
      Richard Rider 25 September, 2014, 15:21

      LetitCollapse. If you go to my blog on the ad we ran, you’ll see the requirements. HS grad? That’s fine. But because so many people want to be CA urban union firefighters, many of them are college grads — some with advanced degrees.

      Check my article that Reed referenced on our ads. You’ll enjoy the write-up of the criteria that I did.–_san_diego_fire_fighter

      Reply this comment
      • LetitCollapse
        LetitCollapse 25 September, 2014, 16:22

        Richard, thanks for the interesting info. My point is that given there are an abundant number of applicants with 4-year degrees and advanced degrees applying for urban FF jobs – why is it still necessary to allow GED’s or HS grads to apply for these lucrative positions? All the applications must be screened and processed, and the applicants must be tested. It must be extremely expensive for each city. So why not just make the entry educational requirement a 4-years degree to thin the herd and save on costs? Our society is supposed to give those who put forth the time and effort to complete college with jobs which pay higher incomes. Name one private sector job that pays a starting comp of $150,000 and allows GED and HS educated job seekers to apply?

        Reply this comment
        • Richard Rider
          Richard Rider 25 September, 2014, 23:19

          LetitCollapse — I would say that raising the standard is the wrong solution to an obvious problem. The problem is that we pay FAR too much for qualified CA firefighters — much, MUCH more than dictated by supply and demand. MY solution is to simply lower the compensation. Any private sector employer would choose my solution without hesitation.

          FACT: The average California firefighter is paid 60% more than paid firefighters in other 49 states. CA cops paid 56% more.

          Moreover, hiring college grads for blue collar jobs is what economists call a “misallocation of resources.” It makes no economic sense for taxpayers to heavily subsidize bright kids to college educations and then hire them to do jobs that less educated but quite qualified people can do. Society loses the potential benefits these bright, overly educated firefighters could bring us all in more productive positions that others are less suited for.

          It also results in a “crowding out” effect — denying folks jobs for which they are qualified.

          One other unintended consequence: Blue collar communities hire almost no one from their own jurisdiction. As a result, firefighter salaries are a remarkable drain of local taxpayer funds — flowing to other, more affluent communities. In addition, firefighters end up living further from their jobs than most commuting employees — both because they can afford it, and because they only commute to work 6-7 times a month (double shifts are quite common). Reaction times to emergency callbacks can be abysmal. (I’ve written about this disaster in San Diego during our brush fires, which caused my subdivision of Scripps Ranch to lose over 300 homes unnecessarily because it took extra HOURS for firefighters to show up for work from distant cities and counties.)

          Reply this comment
          • LetitCollapse
            LetitCollapse 26 September, 2014, 00:07

            “MY solution is to simply lower the compensation.”

            Well that would be my first choice too, Richard. But common sense tells me that is NEVER going to happen. The latest ploy is to make the FF and cops contribute more to their pensions – but at the same time they raise their salaries and health benefits to more than offset any pension contribution. So there is no compensation reform for California public safety, nor will there ever be. Let’s be realistic. The corruption is already baked deeply into the cake. Demanding lower compensations for public safety is a waste of energy. It’s NEVER going to happen. All the damaging data has been exposed to the public and public safety compensations continue to rise!!! Go figure!

            That’s the reason I think we should at least push for entry educational standards for FF and police jobs to be commensurate with the compensations paid! Minimum requirement: 4-year college degree from an accredited university. At least we would get more bang for our buck with brighter public safety personnel serving us! Right now we have GED’s and HS grads being paid like medical doctors!!! Absurd!!!

            Plus, it would remove some of the corruption in hiring for these public safety jobs. The chief or the captain wouldn’t be able to hire their GED or HS grad sons for a job that pays a starting comp of $150,000. That is exactly what’s happening today!!! Most of the successful recruits have INSIDE CONNECTIONS, otherwise it’s practically impossible to get one of those highly paid positions!!! You must be aware the the 15 minute oral interview at the end of the selection process carries the most weight in the selection process. And the scoring is discretionary, leaving the decision to those who sit on the panel – who are good buddies with the chief and the captain. Get it??? 😉

          • Richard Rider
            Richard Rider 26 September, 2014, 12:07

            Al — When cities run their own free fire academies and PAY the students $2,500 or more a month, you’d THINK they’d require some sort of commitment by the student upon graduation. San Diego does not, and I suspect that such is the same for other such cities with academies.

            That’s like if Annapolis or West Point provided a free full education to a student and then upon graduation the student could serve in the military, or not work at all, or whatever else struck their fancy.

            As to the poorer quality of community college graduates, let’s see some evidence their those desperate towns and cities hiring such supposedly ignorant graduates have more devastating fires, or more medical deaths. I know of no such evidence in my county — most cities in the region (actually ALL cities) are fiercely proud of their firefighters and think they are superb performers.

            Any community college can have a good or poor firefighter training program. Your local school may indeed have been a poor performer.

            But with all the people looking to be firefighters, with a little effort any department can get 100 qualified applicants for any firefighter opening. Most cities and fire departments do NOT want too many applications, and understandably so.

            Besides, much of the firefighter hiring process involves nepotism (as LetItCollapse correctly notes), so quality is a secondary factor anyway.

          • LetitCollapse
            LetitCollapse 26 September, 2014, 12:28

            Richard, I see you responded to Al’s comment but not mine. Let me succinctly ask you: Since compensation reform has failed with public safety, don’t you think that it’s reasonable for the public agencies to limit recruitment to those with a minimum education of a 4-year degree from an accredited brick and mortar university that is commensurate with their generous compensations? At least those who served us would be from a more educated and brighter stock that would provide a higher quality of service. Don’t you agree? Additionally, it would help prevent fire chiefs and captains andy mayors from getting their GED or HS grad sons hired for a job with starting compensations of $150,000.

          • Richard Rider
            Richard Rider 28 September, 2014, 13:19

            You’re covering ground I already responded to.
            1. Your assumption is flawed. It is NOT inevitable that we pay our firefighters six figure incomes and opulent pensions. We’ve proven that in San Diego.
            BTW, contracting out firefighting is an even better, if more radical solution. When (and only when) the city can’t afford to pay for firefighters because of salary and benefits costs, privatization may finally (by necessity) become a viable option.
            2. We don’t want or need a bunch of overeducated fire fighters. I’ve already discussed the reasons. If we taxpayers paid ditch diggers $40 an hour, should we limit the jobs to college graduates? No.
            BTW, nepotism would still rule — but first the firefighter parent would need to get their kids the cheapest, most useless, easiest BA out there to meet your “college grad” criteria. We taxpayers would doubtless pay for 80% of the cost of the degree, to no purpose.

          • LetitCollapse
            LetitCollapse 28 September, 2014, 14:15

            “If we taxpayers paid ditch diggers $40 an hour, should we limit the jobs to college graduates? No.”

            That’s not a relevant argument.

            Cops and firefighters aren’t ditch diggers. Their decisions impact the safety of our citizens. College grads are more productive and make better decisions in the workplace than GED’s and HS grads. Ask any employer. And it is EASY to find enough qualified college grads to apply for cop or FF jobs. We don’t need GED’s or HS grads. And it is a WASTE OF PUBLIC FUNDS to screen the applications submitted by GED’s and HS grads when there are more than enough college grads in the selection pool.

            There has been NO COMPENSATION REFORM in the ranks of public safety. You might take a little pension income away – but they always make it up somewhere else – like in salary or health care benefits.

            The problem is corruption in government between the public unions and the politicians. If you want to reform public safety compensation you need to focus on that. Otherwise you are spinning your wheels, my friend.

        • Richard Rider
          Richard Rider 26 September, 2014, 12:14

          LetItCollapse — A city CAN rein in firefighter costs — over time. Two ways:
          1. Lower pay for new hires.
          2. Freeze pay (or at least “pensionable pay”) for a number of years (as we have in San Diego).

          Is it easy? Hell no! Neither is bankruptcy. Granted, most won’t do anything until it’s too late, but solutions ARE there IF politicians want ’em.

          Also, I’m opposed to hiring “the best and the brightest” for overpaying blue collar jobs — especially GOVERNMENT jobs. It’s a huge waste of both taxpayer dollars (college) and the brains of these bright people doing jobs others could do just as well. If most of our bright people prefer government work (high pay, great benefits, low job performance standards, huge job security), the perductivity of the private sector will be subpar.

          Reply this comment
          • LetitCollapse
            LetitCollapse 26 September, 2014, 13:34

            Thanks for replying, Richard. We overlapped on our posts.

            You say ‘freeze pensionable pay’. That’s a scam. In my area they made the public safety make larger contributions to their pensions yet turned around and gave them a larger percent increase in their salaries which more than offset the difference in the higher pension contributions. So more compensation comes through the back door than went out through the front door! You see, that’s the sort of bogus reform that gets stuffed down our throats because the unions own the politcians and you and I know that will NEVER change unless the entire house of cards comes crashing down. And who knows how long that will take?

            In the meantime those who are hired for public positions that pay medical doctor compensations should have a minimum 4-year college degree to work those jobs. In the real world pay is generally commensurate with the skills and education required to perform a certain job. But that’s not the way it works in government. In government pay is commensurate with how skilled the unions are at bribing the politicians to steal from the taxpayer for the benefit of their membership. So if ff’s and cops are paid like medical doctors they should have educations commensurate with that of medical doctors or AT MINIMUM a lousy 4-year college degree!

            If you are waiting for compensation reform in public safety you will be waiting forever, Richard!!!

  6. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 25 September, 2014, 15:22

    While the “hot link” to my blog item describing the ad we ran is there in the article, it’s not highlighted in red for some reason. So if you want read a fun ad for recruiting firefighters, check it out with this link:–_san_diego_fire_fighter

    Reply this comment
    • Al
      Al 26 September, 2014, 17:21

      Richard have you actually taken a hard look at the numbers you provided for SDFD? Using your numbers a top step firefighter makes 20 dollars an hour (firefighters work a 56 hour work week…so 2912 hours a year) IF they worked a normal 40 hour work week there annual salary would be just under 43k. Does anyone really think 20 dollars and change an hour is an outrageous hourly wage? As we have discussed there is overtime, some voluntary…some mandatory. You can’t close a fire station because someone is sick, on vacation, or on a major brush fire. You have to fill the vacancy with another firefighter which means overtime.
      Yes a lot of people apply for fire departments but as someone else mentioned many of these people are either not qualified or minimally qualified. In fact that is one reason why a lot of departments severely limit the number of applications. It takes too much time/money to test applicants who won’t score high enough to move on to the next round. I would bet that in my department at least half have 4 year degrees and almost all have AA degrees in Fire Technology. You have to have those if you want to be successful.
      One thing you said doesn’t make much sense Richard….you said most of SDFD firefighters live 60 miles away from San Diego? Why is that? I grew up in SD and it is a fantastic place to live (except for the traffic). 60 miles away put guys living in Imperial and Riverside County…not exactly the nicest parts of CA. It doesn’t make any sense unless they just can’t afford to live in many parts of SD.

      Reply this comment
  7. Al
    Al 25 September, 2014, 15:33

    It won’t affect hiring at all. What will be affected, though not as much as the PD, is retention. Most law enforcement agencies accept lateral transfer of officers. It is rare for fire departments to offer a lateral transfer so if a firefighter wants to work for another agency he/she has to go through the whole testing process. When you are young it is not a big deal to test again for another agency but as you get more established it is pretty rare.
    The reason that many large fire departments have their own training program is for continuity. Community college fire academies are a dime a dozen. Some are great and some are….well not as good. Yet everyone who finishes gets a state certification. I have trained some of these “academy graduates” and well if I didn’t know better I would have thought that they had never touched a piece of fire equipment My first fire academy was a community college academy and half the guys were being “sponsored” by small fire departments. Meaning that they were hired by those departments and that they community college academy was in lieu of a department academy. These were fire departments that were only hiring 2-3 guys so it wasn’t practical to have their own individual academy.

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  8. fletch92131
    fletch92131 26 September, 2014, 15:29

    I would be happy to discuss allowing pensions for police and firefighters to be tailored to same way that federal security pensions are formatted as a Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). Basically what they have is a small contribution from the federal government, plus whatever 401(k) [IRA style] benefits the employee contributes (matched by the federal government to a certain extent). So there you have it, slightly more generous than probably the San Diego IRA style pensions.

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 26 September, 2014, 17:18

      Why do public employees rate pensions at all when 90% of private sector employees don’t even know what the heck a pension is? Why should a private sector employee be forced to finance public pensions when at best all he gets is a lousy 401-k?

      The discussion should not center around repackaging the public pension formulations or payouts. It should focus on pension elimination in the public sector, like it’s been in the private sector for 30+ years!

      This is pure discrimination in the workplace! And it’s a result of corruption. Why should ANYONE in the government be allowed to retire at 55 with 80-90% of their pay when the average lifespan is 80?

      Some of them make more in retirement than they made on the damn job, compliments of the taxpayers!!!

      Reply this comment
  9. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 26 September, 2014, 20:34

    You are obviously the happiest person on this planet!

    Reply this comment
  10. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 26 September, 2014, 23:26

    I see that the rating agency Moody has some very alarming news about American pension debt accumulation:

    “Funding gaps in the 25 largest US public pension sector tripled in the eight years to the end of 2012 with unfunded liabilities hitting $2 trillion, rating agency Moody’s has claimed”

    This means that government will be forced to sell off it’s assets, forgo upgrading our nation’s badly deteriorating infrastructure and raise taxes on people who do not have retirement pensions in order to keep the failing public pension system afloat.

    These pensioniers don’t give a damn about the younger generations. Wild animals have more compassion for their young than these greedy and selfish freeloaders who rely upon the taxpayers to fund their lifestyles until they croak.

    I have never witnessed grown adults show so much disdain for the generations to follow. Just shameful.

    Reply this comment
  11. Desmond
    Desmond 27 September, 2014, 04:19

    I think he is happy, due in part to self-reliance and taking responsibility for his retirement. So many of the generation he refers to are the polar opposite.Taking responsibility is not showering others with one’s debt. That will be the legacy of the generation. Legacy lives forever, long after the retirements are spent wisely to build the foundation for the youth, or spent previously on selfish toys.

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 27 September, 2014, 09:25

      I’m different from most, Desmond. I don’t complain just when I get screwed. I complain when my neighbor gets unjustly screwed by those with lots of power and money. That’s the basic ingredient of a ‘civilized’ society. If I only complained when I got screwed I wouldn’t be a ‘civilized’ human being. I know it’s a lost art in this greedy and egotistic society, but my parents taught me not only to defend myself, but to defend my fellow man against injustice even if the problem he faces does not impact my life.

      Those who are baby boomers and older caused the financial problems we live with today. We spent money that they didn’t have, accumulated many many trillions in debt and now expect to live out the rest of our lives in comfort with the financial support of the younger folks who we’ve dropped the debt bomb on. Naturally, those younger folks will live a quality of life MUCH less than our own because they will have to pay for OUR financial sins. Most folks your age and younger haven’t figured this out yet. Many of you won’t until we’re dead and gone. And then you will seeth in anger for the rest of your days. The time to take action is NOW! Not after we’re gone! To confront those who are in the process of ruining your financial futures and demand US to share in your future suffering TODAY!

      My parent’s generation did good by us and we have an OBLIGATION to do good by you. YOUR generation needs to ensure that WE fulfill our OBLIGATION.

      Organize and take action! And if you see an old man in the crowd – that’s me!

      Reply this comment
  12. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 27 September, 2014, 09:56

    Richard Rider,

    Did you know that Federal law enforcement positions (ie, FBI, DEA, ATF, DIA, IRS, etc…) all require a MINIMUM 4 year college degree from an accredited brick and mortar university? No GED or HS grad gets a crack at those jobs. And if you check the pay scales – the GED and HS grad beat cops who ride around in patrol cars and babysit in the jails get MUCH HIGHER average compensations and BIGGER pensions that the Federal law enforcement. And the Federal cops do not get unlimited OT or comp time for hour worked that exceed 25% of their bi-weekly base salaries. So if a Federal cop makes, lets say, $800 a week in base salary the MAXIMUM OT he could earn for that week would be $200. Or put another way…for a regular 40 hour work week Federal law enforcement is CAPPED at 10 hours OT for pay purposes – even through 20 hours of actual OT worked is the norm.

    Imagine how loud these spoiled, entitled local cops would squeal if they had to work under those conditions? lol. And we’re talking the difference between GED’s and college grads here!!!

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 27 September, 2014, 20:46

      Yes, the RAGWUS feeders are out of control LIC!!! 🙂

      Reply this comment
      • LetitCollapse
        LetitCollapse 27 September, 2014, 21:44

        Donkey, didn’t you once say your son works for the FBI? If so, ask him about the OT policy. The Fed LE are maxed at 25% of base salary in OT, regardless of how many OT hours are actually worked. And there’s no comp time either. Basically, every hour they work over 10 during a regular 40 hour workweek is worked for FREE with zero compensation. Imagine if the city cops were switched over to that program. They’d all throw tizzy tantrums and sue the taxpayers.

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        • Donkey
          Donkey 29 September, 2014, 10:02

          LIC, you are correct about the Feds compensation. The model for the California RAGEWUS is similar to a RICO violation in federal law. 🙂

          Reply this comment
  13. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 28 September, 2014, 11:33

    LetItCollapse — Firefighters aren’t paid an hourly wage to WORK. They are paid an hourly wage to BE ON CALL. Much of a firefighter’s time is spent doing what you and I do for free. Things like cooking, eating, exercising, shopping, going online, watching TV and — most important — sleeping. Do YOU get paid to sleep? So don’t pretend their pay is only $43,000 for working.

    A couple days ago our taxpayer issues committee had the San Diego city auditor come and speak – and answer questions – about police and fire departments. He pointed out that the firefighters didn’t want more firefighters hired because it would cut back their overtime, overtime which they were “used to” getting. But when the fire chief was asked by the auditor if doing all that overtime would degrade their capabilities, the chief readily pointed out that doing a lot of overtime was not difficult at all.

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  14. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 28 September, 2014, 11:40

    You are puzzled why firefighters don’t live in town. You like to argue about everything, don’t you?

    No matter how much a city pays its employees, they can buy a bigger house and more land if they live outside the city. Most government (and private) workers can’t live too far, because of the 22 day a month commute. But FF’s only commute to work about 6-7 days a month (they do double shifts to get more days off in a row), so they can live further way. In San Diego, some choose to live east in Alpine or other such areas, but MOST live in North County or the Temecula region in the next county.

    Think I’m wrong? Assuming you live near or in a city, go ask the guys down at the fire station where they live. I GUARANTEE you that most do not live in the city in which they work. If it’s a smaller city like Poway or National City, almost NONE live in the city.

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  15. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 28 September, 2014, 11:46

    LetItCollapse (you don’t really mean that, do you? Perhaps you should choose a new moniker — I recommend “PropItUp”.)

    A “pensionable pay” freeze DOES work. We are doing it NOW in my city of San Diego. It takes backbone and often a city voter initiative, but it can be done. Not theory — FACT.

    Reply this comment
  16. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 28 September, 2014, 11:47

    My apologies, LetItCollapse. Some of my responses today should have been to Al instead. This is a hard website to respond directly on.

    Reply this comment
  17. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 28 September, 2014, 11:54

    LetItCollapse — Limiting cops to college graduates would not work. We have some difficulitiws finding suitable cops NOW — which often has more to do with TEMPERMENT and a clean record than with education. A policeman’s job does not require a BA. A rolling stop is a rolling stop — except when it’s not. 😉

    Firefighters are different. We could be SWAMPED by good applicants if we wanted ’em. The supply-demand ratio is quite different for cops vs. firefighters.

    That’s why in San Diego we’ve put our ff new-hires on 401k plans (VERY GENEROUS — full matching up to 9% of pay), but kept the cops on DB pension plans.

    Reply this comment
  18. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 28 September, 2014, 14:02

    “LetItCollapse (you don’t really mean that, do you? Perhaps you should choose a new moniker — I recommend “PropItUp”.)

    A “pensionable pay” freeze DOES work. We are doing it NOW in my city of San Diego. It takes backbone and often a city voter initiative, but it can be done. Not theory — FACT.”

    Richard, for all your self-proclaimed expertise you appear pretty darned naive sometimes.

    To quiet down the anti-pension crusades that are so prevalent today various local governments are either forcing public safety to pay higher contributions for their pensions or implementing ‘pension freezes’.

    But what you fail to tell us is that at the same time these local governments give public safety VERY GENEROUS salary and step-pay increases AND supplement their health care benefits which completely offset any financial benefit that the taxpayers may receive from the so-called ‘pension reform’. You need give the readers BOTH sides to the story here, Richard. Pension reform is not necessarily COMPENSATION REFORM! Your comments confuse me as to which side you really support?

    So you are claiming that GED’s and HS grads have better ‘temperments’ and cleaner records than people with enough aspiration to better themselves with a college education? lol. Are you serious??? Most employers concur that a higher educated and brighter workforce is a more productive and successful workforce. You appear to disagree. So I am beginning to question your opinions. They don’t make sense to me.

    Restricting public safety applicants to those with a MINIMUM of a 4-year degree is very sensible and it would provide the citizens with a higher quality of service. Each opening would STILL garner at least 400 applications – more than enough to find highly qualified applicants. Name ONE OTHER JOB that pays a starting compensation of $150,000 that allows GED’s and HS grads to apply??? You can’t.

    Sorry, Richard. Some of your opinions make no sense to me.

    Reply this comment
  19. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 29 September, 2014, 12:27

    Btw, Richard. The entry level compensation for a new cop or FF in an urban environment is about $150,000, based on my research at the State Controller’s website.

    Even if you cut that compensation IN HALF, a $75,000 comp is average for a new college grad. Now, even in your WILDEST dreams, you know that public safety’s compensation would NEVER get cut in half from the level it’s at today. You would be very lucky to cut their compensation by 10%-15%. In fact, the odds are that their average compensations won’t go down – but only continue to go up!

    So if public safety compensation, as compared with compensations of other paid positions throughout the economy, is compensated at a level commensurate with an entry requirement of a college education – then GED’s and HS grads should be eliminated from the selection pool.

    That way the Chief or the Captain could no longer get their GED sons hired for a high paying job. It would be a victory in the war against nepotism, which we know runs rampant in public safety hiring practices.

    I rest my case.

    Reply this comment

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