Firefighters step up for cost cuts

The city could save up to $550,000 over three years under a new contract with the city freighters union, saving money in ways the union itself proposed, officials said.

"We want to thank you guys for the process this year," said John Miguel, president of Firefighters Association local 1965, to new City Manager Dan Rich and assistant Melissa Stevenson Dile. "It had a whole different feel to it than it's ever had before."

The union is the first of four city employees groups expected to announce agreements in the coming weeks.

"Employees have been very generous in coming forward in these difficult times," said council member Margaret Abe-Koga. "They came forward and made concessions. You don't hear that very often."

Officials said the agreement exceeds the city's goal of saving $165,000 in the coming fiscal year. It caps vacation time that can be accrued at 80 hours, encouraging employees to take vacations rather than save hours to be cashed out later. Firefighters will pay an additional 2 percent of their salary towards their pensions (on top of 9 percent already paid) and a $10 copay for hospital visits. A pay raise of 2 percent is included in the third year of the contract.

The contract's savings may be as little as $250,000 if the city does not decide to join the CalPERS pension retirement program, an option the city will study this year.

— Daniel DeBolt


Like this comment
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Nice to hear the city and public safety unions are talking. Hope this continues for years. BTW, our last city manager, as a way of showing comparisons, had listed in a council budget meeting (jam packed with citizens) the departments that had trimmed their expenses most over the previous 5 years. The fire department was dead last. With less fire calls over the last decades (and more para-medic calls) it is (IMO) obviously time to start working with unions to change the workforce composition for THIS VITAL SERVICE! We want you, we value you, we just expect you to lead the way in efficiently providing this service. [after the Firehouse 5 dedication I now appreciate a little better the past 'best of class' reputation of our fire service]

Like this comment
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 21, 2012 at 8:45 am

Wow.. 11% towards their pensions.

I pay 100% towards my retirement. And it's still not garanteed like these pensions are.

I'm glad the city is getting concessions but it's still not enough. The money is gone. Time to make the really hard cuts.

Maybe we didn't really need the new fire station.

Instead of a brand new fire fleet how about replacing 1/3 of it every couple years.

Of course now there is talk about a new police/fire administration building.

Spend spend spend.

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