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Why we should protest fire department plans for new fee

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SBCoFD Chief Mark Hartwig
FireChief Mark Hartwig

If the protest fails, will the union get big raises in its new 2019 contract and propose another increase in base and annual growth rate? Protest now!

The (San Bernardino County fire department’s proposed fire assessment) increase is to cover a $27.6 million shortfall, not to provide any extra services. SBC Fire wants some of the poorest people in the county to subsidize San Bernardino City area fire protection. Wonder Valley’s $132 increase equates to 661 Top Ramen noodle meals per year and $157.26 equals 779 meals per year.

•A $42-43 million reserve existed in 2014. How did it become a $29 million shortage?

Fire personnel are overpaid. On publicpay.ca.gov, in 2017, a search of San Bernardino County’s 100 highest paid workers, where the lowest paid is $198,106, shows many medical/legal personnel, 25 firemen and only 12 sheriff personnel on the list (the sheriff is paid just 10 percent more than a fire captain, plus the under-sheriff is paid only about $4,000 more than a fire captain). Why are we paying $198-253K to fire personnel who are required by federal labor laws to sleep for at least six hours per 24 hour shift? $50,000 for sleeping. WOW!

Blotted pay raise: The 2014-16 firefighter Memorandum of Understanding (contract) was superseded in 2015 with a new 2015-2019 MOU. In it, the basic firefighters saw a one-year 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent COLA raise plus their annual step increase, resulting in a 5 percent to 8.4 percent increase. The captains saw one-year COLA increases of 9.2 percent to 12.3 percent plus their annual increases, resulting in a 12 percent to 14.9 percent increase. The engineers were the biggest gainers, seeing a one-year 10.9 percent to 14.7 percent COLA raise plus a…

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