Town Hall Meeting to Discuss the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District

January 8, 2014 8:00 am · 14 comments

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A town hall meeting will be held in Martinez to discuss a study of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

Fitch and Associates, LLC will be hosting the town hall meeting to present the draft operational study of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District and seek feedback from the public.

In February 2013, the Board of Supervisors, serving as the Board of Directors of the Fire District, approved a contract with Fitch to conduct a study of District operations and make recommendations for future service delivery options.

Since that time, the consultants have been meeting with stakeholders throughout the County and conducted three public town hall meetings in August 2013. The District has been dealing with severe budget cuts that have resulted in decreased services and fire station closures. Voters did not pass a parcel tax measure in November 2012, which would have helped to maintain existing fire suppression service levels.

The town hall meeting is scheduled for January 22, 2014 and will include a public education component regarding the study and a public forum – a chance for the public to speak directly with the consultants regarding their views of District service delivery and operations.

The meeting will take place at the following location:

Date: Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
Time: 6:00pm
Location: Board of Supervisors Chambers
651 Pine Street, 1st Floor – Room 108 in Martinez

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of District IV stated that public engagement in the study process is critical to its success. “It is very important that our public be engaged in this process. Ultimately, the decisions that are made regarding the Fire District will have an impact on all of us that reside in or visit the District.” Mitchoff added.

Fitch plans to present study findings to the Board of Supervisors February 25th, 2014. For more information regarding the fire study, please click HERE.

{ 14 comments }

1 anonymous January 8, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Mitchoff is the only Supervisor that answers her mail.That counts for something.

2 RedHat January 8, 2014 at 9:14 AM

This meeting is after normal work hours….Please show up and tell your County Board of Supervisors what services you expect from your Fire District.

3 random task January 8, 2014 at 9:29 AM

really so again people are outraged at the closures yet unwilling to pay ….oh forgot a dem state in action cry for everything and expect someone else to pay

4 Optimize Yourself January 8, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Find a way to do more with less, we’ve been doing that in the private industry since the economy dropped out. Figure it out, don’t just cry for more money.

5 Anon January 8, 2014 at 11:35 AM

@ post #1, My supervisor (Piepho) answers hers.

@ post # 4, Educate yourself. They are doing more with less. They closed several fire stations but still respond to the same amount of emergency calls. Figure it out, it is your service that suffers. Ready for the next round of cuts?
Then maybe you will figure it out (and cry).

I’m sure they will be happy to live within their means, but the question is, will you?

6 outraged, yes January 8, 2014 at 11:42 AM

@ random task
People want to cut more of the fat. Too much waste in government spending. Cut the inflated wages and expect to pay more for benefits. The cry is always for more, more, more. How about NO? As Optimize Yourself said “Do more with less” like the rest of us are. It’s that easy.

7 Sooth Sayer January 8, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Cut the pensions keep the stations.

8 Anon January 8, 2014 at 1:03 PM

@ 7, Cut the pensions?

Ever thought of what that would lead to? Hint: 70 year old firemen responding to your emergency. Is that where you were thinking? You know every action has an equal and opposite reaction right?

I’m thinking that you didn’t think it through and just assumed that illegally lowering pensions and breaking contracts would cost the firemen instead of sharing the burden.

Brilliant.

ps. In our next installment we can discuss the larger burden that tax free disability retirements will place directly on you, because you expect firemen to work into their golden years. That would be the direct result of lowering pensions or were you also planning on trying to age discriminate to get them to retire on peanuts? Yep, those 70 year olds just don’t bounce back like 50 year olds do. It’s not rocket science.

9 anonymous January 8, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Dear Anon
No, she doesn’t

10 common sense change first January 8, 2014 at 3:55 PM

My uncle was a fire fighter and retired in WA state with a fair pension. Their program is not out of control like CA. I also have family that are Police Officers. I believe our Fire and Police deserve to be well compensated due to the nature of their jobs. I also understand they can’t perform at peek abilities as they age and need to retire way before the normal retirement age for many careers.
I think the CC Fire District needs to first get some common sense pension reform passed and then come to us with their proposal. We the employers of our public work force, deserve reform before we spend any more money. It sucks that they need to push it through but someone has to do it.
1. No more double dipping, you are allowed one pension based on the highest salary you had as a public servant. This is to be based on your regular pay not to include banking comp, OT and vacation (make this match the government rules to determine SS wages – I’m not saying to match the payments just the wage calculation).
2. Cap the pension benefits at fair amount. If a fire chief is making 250k then their pension benefit will be based on a cap of say 175k. But then they should only have to pay into the pension system based on 175k, for the other part of their salary they can take the percentage they would have contributed into CalPers and put it into what every type of private retirement account they want.
3. Make this starts now – don’t make it start for just new hires. Everyone that has not yet retired needs to make amends for the sins of the current system, they all helped grease it with their political contributions. I would even try and go back and enact the CAP for those really ripping off the tax payers (and yes this also includes all the City, County …. officials / politicians that are on CalPers).

When they get these common sense fixes in – then call the town hall and I will be a 100% in support of increasing funding.

11 . January 8, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Wonder if scheduling and overtime will be mentioned. In 2011 they had 7 people make over $100,000 in overtime pay.

12 Anon January 8, 2014 at 4:52 PM

@ 10,

You lost me with your slant on common sense.

1. What does double dipping have to do with anything? It certainly has nothing to do with the fire department budget and has never been even remotely identified as a factor? Not sure where you are getting your info on that, unless it was just to throw out a red herring. Besides what would be the difference of the entire sum of a retirement being paid to one person or split up between two. The net would be the same and in fact the impact on the taxpayer would be less due to not having to fund two medical benefits and other perks. Double dipping doesn’t apply but is actually a cost savings-it is always raised because of what is referred to as a jealousy factor. Read any of Daniel Borenstein’s articles if you need an example. He has the market cornered on pension envy.

2. Cap pensions at a figure below the posted wage? You would most likely run into a few laws that prohibit this. Start with the IRS. You pay taxes on your entire wage and your retirement benefit and employee contribution is calculated on that very same amount. Any attempt to artificially lower it is consider illegal under several provisions. Not to mention the moral accountability associated with your suggestion. I noticed that you isolated your argument to that of a 250k a year chief. Fire Chiefs making that kind of money make up less that .05 percent of the department and I imagine they earn every cent. Your suggestion only serves to complicate an already complicated retirement system. I guess you are unaware that they can already contribute into a private retirement fund in addition to what the county’s retirement system mandates. No offense but you obviously are not familiar with the retirement system. Con Fire does not contribute into Cal Pers and the IRS prohibits retro active pension adjustments.

3. Maybe you are simply trying to be helpful here, but your “suggestions” on violating current contracts are offensive in their nature. You are suggesting breaking a contract? You do know what a contract is right? You want the county/state to be in the business of not honoring their word but would expect employees to honor theirs? Nice set of standards you got going there. All in the name to save a buck on the people that put their lives on the line to protect you and your family.

13 Wendy Lack January 13, 2014 at 11:44 AM

The main purpose of this meeting is to accept public comment on the consultant’s report re ConFire service options, which was released today. Here’s a link to the report from Fitch consultants:
http://ca-contracostacounty.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/29182

14 ANON January 16, 2014 at 9:41 AM

How about Contra Costa Fire switch to CalPers? Would save its District and its employees millions a year. Calpers max is 90% not the 100% currently. The employees would not have to give 27% of their monthly check to a system that is supposedly broken (maybe if the thieving BOS kept their dirty paws out of the fund it wouldn’t be.) District would save millions a year to open stations and provide addtional services. No spiking allowed with CalPers. Get out of CCCERA and out from under the BOS and your Fire Dept will be in great shape.

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