Tag Archives: Chico Fire Department

Tea Party hosts City of Chico Fire Chief Bill Hack – find out how Fire Department will spend $5.3M grant – be sure to ask him how he will pay for those new boots when the grant runs out

25 Feb

Chico Tea Party meeting Tuesday 2/25/14 @ 7pm, Marie Callender restaurant at 1910 20th Street (at the Chico Mall)

“Fire Department Status and open questions with Bill Hack Division Chief Chico Fire”
 
Learn about the $5.3M Grant that just past City Council.

Sheesh, there’s just not enough time in the day to bitch about stuff.  NO, I’m not happy about the new grant for the fire department. First of all, that’s our money – why don’t people get that? Second, we don’t need more stupes in boots to sit down at the fire station breathing their own farts or endangering our lives using their sirens to run stop lights. And, last but hardly least – when this grant runs out, they will kick and scream that they need more funding from the city to pay the extra guys they hired with the grant. 

We’ve been here before – who keeps eating the bread crumbs? The city of Chico just keeps running in the same circles. 

I will not have a chance to attend, but these meetings are open to the public. I’d recommend being on time, they usually have an interesting program for 20 minutes or so, and then the speaker is given the floor, and will accept questions from the general audience. Also, they open the room at 5:30 for dinner, I believe, if you want to make an evening of it. The wait staff there is very professional, and you can have drinks during the program. Please be sure to tip nice, these guys and gals work hard on their feet all day.

Thanks for doing this Tea Party!  In future I will try to remember to post all their events, sorry to be so slow to get this up.

 

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Yes, many city of Chico employees are overcompensated

27 Dec

Right now, our city “leaders” are kicking around the city employee contracts, and as everybody knows by now, the most important of those contracts are police, fire, and management in general. These employees are not only our most highly paid, but currently pay little to nothing for their  very generous benefits and pension packages. The “public safetly” employees also manage to bolster their agreed-upon salaries with 10’s of thousands in overtime. They also get some pretty ridiculous perks – for example, police officers are paid to put on and take off their uniforms, paid to shower (including the water and gas bills that put the department over budget), paid to work out at the gym, and if their hijinks get them sued, we pay their lawyer and pay them to sit in court. They get vision, dental, life insurance, rest-home insurance, etc, etc, etc. And out of their average $90,000 a year salaries (before overtime), they don’t pay squat for their pensions – 9o percent of their highest year’s salary, available at age 50.

Meanwhile, any cop will tell you, fire employees get paid to sleep, shower, sit on their X-boxes, eat, shop, whatever they want to do over their shifts. They don’t work a normal eight hour shift like private employees, they’ve manipulated a guaranteed overtime system by threatening us with “slow response times.” Sure, they’ve got that hook and ladder at the grocery store around the corner from your house, but they’re all inside the store loading up groceries they don’t pay for to eat on our dime. Sorry, but everybody knows this is true. They chase ambulances, with no recompense from the ambulance companies, who charge somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 per mile for your patient to be transported. And then you pay for the  fire department too, isn’t that funny? And you pay for their medical and legal expenses, and you pay for them to sit on their asses into perpetuity when they turn 50 years old. 

So, excuse me if I feel these people need to be taken to task, I don’t care if they are insulted. It hurts my feelings when I have to pay my property taxes to foot the bill for a bunch of guys to sit around farting in front of a big screen tv.

There’s been some discussion in the letters section, I hope there will be more. Below I’ve got a few letters I’ve seen, although I’ve missed others, I wanted to get these out here, get some more conversation out of them. The ER not only dumps letters after a day or so, but the forum they run demands that you have Facebook, and isn’t available to those who don’t have an online subscription. So, here are a couple of pro-employee letters, and one from Michael Jones that I think says it very well. 

Letter: Police, fire not overcompensated

Chico Enterprise-Record

POSTED:   11/30/2013 10:39:31 PM PST
 
 

One letter printed Nov. 24 (“Stone sticks up for taxpayers”) was reported that, “The average police or fireperson in Chico makes three times as much in wages and benefits as the average Chico taxpayer.”The city of Chico is currently advertising for a police patrol officer position. The listed salary range is $53,000 to $71,000. City of Chico firefighters are close to that same salary range, from $55,00 to $77,500.

Even using the higher Chico firefighter wages, a third of their listed salaries would be just over $18,000 (low) and nearly $26,000 (high).

The lowest Chico-wide mean salary (i.e., average Chico taxpayer) I’ve found online was $36,000 (“Simply Hired”) and the highest was almost $69,500 (“Salary List”).

While I recognize that the level of contractual benefits that can be earned — above and beyond the base salary — can vary significantly from one career to the next, I believe it is somewhat disingenuous to suggest that Chico police officers and firefighters are grossly overcompensated in relation to the average Chico taxpayer.

On a side note, due to the Windfall Elimination Provision, police, firefighters and public school teachers receive virtually nothing in Social Security benefits — even if those benefits were rightfully earned in work done prior to the public service employee’s pension years.

— Mark S. Gailey, Chico

I’m sorry, yes they are too!  Gailey tries to play the numbers, but it’s all there. Yes, a lot of private citizens in Chico, including my family, live on less than $30,000. The average cop makes about $92,000, and many firefighters as much as double their $55 – 75,000 salaries with overtime.  That’s about three times the average or “mean” income. And, we’re comparing one person’s wages to a “household” income. 

He says they receive “virtually nothing” in social security – “virtually” is in the eye of the beholder. Read the contracts yourselves, you won’t believe all the perks they get. Gailey is using the facts he likes and leaving the rest out.  He’s betting nobody really reads those contracts. Please do, they’re available on the city website, under Human Resources.

Now, here, Don Grant says we must not blame the employee, it’s the politicians’ fault:

Letter: Blame politicians, not employees

Chico Enterprise-Record

POSTED:   12/11/2013 09:59:37 PM PST

 Read a letter the other day from a Joseph Neff concerning his ideas on public pensions. I have seen several letters targeting public pensions and workers and it seems that is a favorite target for individuals to vent toward.What almost all of these people don’t realize is the pay and pension programs for these public employees were not just handed out to them. These are all negotiated pay scales and benefit packages that elected or appointed officials have negotiated with the respective groups of employees. These are the same employees who year after year have gone without any raises and usually each year have had to give just to be able to stay employed. Most of these individuals make under $45,000 per year and still have to contribute a portion of that to their health coverage and public pension.

I would like to see Neff provide for a family of four all the necessary basics on that salary and still be able to save for retirement as he suggests. He also says that SSI will make up the rest. Who’s to say SSI will be available in the future. Invest in 401(k)? Does the crash of 2008 ring a bell?

Stop lambasting the public worker. They do a very fine job. I hope this blame game will run its course and get these sour grape people off their necks, and no I have never held a public works position. Private sector only.

— Don Grant, Oroville

Maybe Mr. Grant is talking about city of Oroville when he mentions employees who’ve gone without pay raises – not Chico or Butte County. I was just looking at the salaries for managing the county dump, and those guys have received $10 – 20,000 in raises over the last few years. City of Chico employees, especially cops and fire, have gone right along getting their scheduled raises – they just promoted a bunch of cops, and I’ve seen two now retire within a year to six months of promotion – Dye and Laver. That’s called “spiking,” and now those two will retire at 90 percent of their newly inflated salaries. 

Mr. Grant seems to be trying to use the lower paid “classified staff” as shields – yes, the lower paid employees get less salary, but they also get a benefits and retirement package for which they only pay nine percent of the cost. I will leave my little violin in it’s case. 

Finally Mr. Grant, I will continue to lambaste a group of people who expect to be kept like prize pigs. PAY YOUR OWN BENEFITS, SOOOOO-UUUU-IIIIIIEEE!  Then I’ll stop basting you. Oh, excuse me, I guess I meant lambasting!  It’s just all this pork folks, it gets me a little excited.

Finally, I’m so glad to see Michael Jones getting in there. Mr. Jones is more patient than I am, he is willing to take the conversation further without stomping on the floor until his foot gets stuck. That would be me.

Letter: Big pensions lead to big expense cuts

Chico Enterprise-Record

POSTED:   12/16/2013 09:16:55 PM PST

No one begrudges the public employee who makes $45,000 a year, and retires on less than that. But Chico firefighters on average make $80,000 a year and retire on $90,000 a year. And can retire at age 50.

That’s why the public employees over in maintenance and parks are being laid off. The City Council needs to correct this misallocation of resources. Mayor Scott Gruendl is up for re-election next November. Here’s his chance to earn it.

— Michael Jones, Chico

Yes, he’s put his finger right on it – we have a misallocation of resources.  I don’t want to talk about “what people are worth.” If you want to go there, I’ll tell you what – I’m worth a lot more than that little shit, Ken Campbell. So, like I say, let’s not go there. Let’s just set a wage that’s available for performing a certain task. Let’s say if you don’t like that  wage you can hit the road and give somebody else a chance. And, given a reasonable wage, we should expect our employees to take care of their own retirement and medical expenses, with some compensation for years of service, but not just a guaranteed free ride all the way through. 

The real problem here is management. Our overcompensated city manager also plays double as our contract negotiator. I think I finally understand the expression, “in the catbird seat…

Brian Nakamura under attack? Fears for his personal and family’s safety? Apparently he’s talking about the police and fire employees

7 Nov

Last week I attended the Tuesday night Tea Party meeting, and by Thursday morning I’d sent off a letter to the Enterprise Record about it. On Sunday I realized I had not received the usual response from David Little, so I resent. Little himself has told me, and other regular letter writers, to resend if I don’t get that “it’s in the cue” response directly from him, so I always do. He responded a day or two later complaining he had a lot of letters. My letter finally ran yesterday, Wednesday. Today it’s gone, fuckyouverymuch!

I also can’t help but notice – other letters that ran yesterday are still up.  I hate to be a sour apple, but that’s how I feel when I get the short end of the stick. Especially from a guy who takes the sticks in his hands, measures them up, and then looks around the room and says, “you again – you get  the short stick.”  I’m used to that from him, but it makes him smaller and smaller every time until some day I expect him to disappear and suddenly some new, fresh-minded young person will be standing there, ready to hand over a clean new deck of cards. I  can dream.

I spend time writing these dam-ned letters. In this case, I wrote to the ER instead of writing a blog about this meeting because I was short on time and figured it was important to tell other people. Fat lot of good it did to write the the Enterprise Record! 

I also wrote a letter to the News and Review, about another aspect of Nakamura’s chat at the Tea Party meeting – that ran with the first send, and will appear on the website into perpetuity. Read that here:

http://www.newsreview.com/chico/letters-for-november-7-2013/content?oid=11973038

I don’t write letters to the editor to see my name in the paper, I write because I know the general public doesn’t make it to these behind-closed-doors ass-kissing sessions, isn’t privvy to this information – even though we all should be. Here’s my letter about Nakamura’s fear of Chico PD and Fire. Why are we letting this guy negotiate our employee contracts? 

Brian Nakamura and Chris Constantin were featured speakers at a recent Tea Party meeting. I was shocked at what Nakamura related about dealing with the police and fire departments. 

 

The city of Chico is currently negotiating contracts with employee unions. I asked if Nakamura, who serves as city liason, was having any luck getting city employees to pay their own benefits and pensions costs.  He said he could not give us specifics of the contracts, but described the talks as “turf wars.” The police and fire unions he said, bring in “legal resources” from out of town to fight “any changes” in the contracts. 

 

When asked if he had considered contracting Cal Fire, Nakamura warned, the council chambers would be packed with people wearing red Chico Fire shirts, and he’d be run out of town.  “It happened in Hemet!” he exclaimed, and described himself as a “target” at least five times. 

 

When asked about a sales tax hike to fund the police department, Nakamura wouldn’t support it – “you can write whatever you want into the measure to try and protect the money, but the complexities of the General Fund…” allow the money to be moved to other funds by Staff without public oversight. 

 

Constantin agreed, adding, “I’m not going to advocate paying more when police don’t pay a dime toward their own benefits…”

 

Chico Fire and Police departments are apparently the biggest threat to public safety, both physical and fiscal. 

 

Juanita Sumner, Chico

Did you know – firefighters are pigs too? Ever try to pull a shoat off a teat? Good luck. Might have to get rid of the sow too.

2 Aug

I went to the Airport Commission meeting the other night, but I been so busy since then I have not had a chance to sit down and post about it. As usual, I went to the meeting for one thing and ended up learning all about stuff I thought I didn’t care about.

I’m like a dog sometimes, when I am after something, I don’t always notice other stuff. I wanted to hear about the airport budget, the other agenda items didn’t interest me. I thought the first item – the closing of the airport fire station, #3, had already been hashed out, beaten to death, stuck a fork in and turned over twice. I forgot – the Airport Commission didn’t even get asked for their two cents during that entire conversation. Boy, hell hath no fury like a bunch of old guys who get passed over on an important decision.

It sure doesn’t seem like anybody puts any importance on this commission. They only have quarterly meetings. The council meeting at which this whole thing was set in motion was back in June, when council told all the department heads, including the fire department, that they needed to take 10 percent off the top of their budgets. The Airport Commission met in April, and wasn’t even noticed, apparently, for the council meeting in June.  It was left to the department heads to decide what to cut, snip snip. There really is no “Airport Department.” Chief Beery brought the airport into the fracas when he made a tactical decision to tie it to the railroad  tracks by closing Station 3, loudly insinuating that we would lose commercial air service because of the closure. Later, under intense criticism,  he reneged on that threat, suddenly remembering that the Federal Air Administration would be satisfied with one guy and a utility truck.

From the reaction the commission had last night, they don’t even read the newspaper. In fact, one commissioner complained loudly that “you can’t believe what you read in the newspaper.” Well, at least you could read it, and then check it out for yourself. These guys all spoke as though they’d been out of town the last few months.  Commissioners Gosling and Sanger just kept going on about how upset they were to be passed over, BT Chapman complained aloud that there is no real airport manager.  They all agreed they should write a letter to council about their feelings – well, look out for the Airport Commission, these guys are a pack of pistols! They be bad!

$taffer Debbie Collins and Ass City Mangler Mark Orme informed them that the decision had been made, they were just being “kept in the loop.” Orme and Chief Keith Carter, sent as a substitute pinata for Chief Beery, kept telling the commission it was a budgetary decision, as if that was supposed to be comforting in some way. 

Carter informed us that this decision did not even meet the 10 percent cut asked for by city management. When Commissioner Sanger asked him, childlike – “what if the city orders you to keep Station 3 open?” Without a pause, Carter replied, “We’d close Station 5.” “Where’s that?” responded Sanger. I wanted to throw my notebook at the old fart. Get the hell out of the kitchen Old Man!

Sorry to be rude. People think it’s such a lofty ideal to serve on one of these commissions, that they expect to be served like royalty at a table. These old gasbags just sit and wait for Debbie Collins to send them stuff – they don’t even attend meetings, read agendas?  This commission just serves as a badge of mismanagement at the airport. 

The commission spent an hour flapping it’s wings over this, even though Collins and airport facilities manager Kim Parks reassured them repeatedly that the station would remain open with one staffer and a utility truck and that is all the FAA requires for commercial flights. The commission just wouldn’t be satisfied.   At one point they demanded to see the e-mail correspondence between Collins and the FAA.  I frankly don’t blame them – Collins handles them like a bunch of escapees from a rest home. She was bitchy with me when I asked her about complaints about Northgate Aviation – said she has had plenty but wouldn’t show them  to me or tell me how many, of what nature, from who.  This woman is effectively our airport manager, the head of the stinking fish.  Nakamura didn’t even show up, sending Orme in his place. 

Laura Urseny’s story this morning reports that the firefighters’ union had something to do with keeping the station open at all , as if they are responsible for saving the station!  No, they made the decision to cut Station 3, from three firefighters and two trucks to one guy with a truck.   Now, from what Collins told us the other night, it will really mean no difference in service. None of the three that were there had medical training. They have special training in putting out airplane crash fires, but would still have to call for help from surrounding stations. So, nothing’s really changed – they still have a guy out there who can call for help, and that’s about all they would have done before anyway.  But the union was trying to play us, having Beery announce that this would threaten commercial air service. I will not forget what happened last year when council asked the fire department to cut their budget and Beery immediately closed Station 5  – union president Ken Campbell went door-to-door in the surrounding neighborhoods, lying to the neighbors and telling them to write to council. Bob Evans called Campbell on the carpet at the next council meeting, and Campbell admitted to telling people that council had ordered the station closed when it had been Beery’s decision. 

What got left out of this whole conversation is the pensions. We pay about $10 million a year in pension payments for our employees, over half goes for the cops, and almost that amount goes for fire. Paying their own pensions out of their outrageous salaries would solve the problem without closing any station or cutting any positions. But our fire department are greedy little shoats, who won’t let go of the teat.

I had gone to that meeting to hear about the airport budget, but  this ridiculous little howl took the entire first hour of the meeting. I don’t know if Orme was ever able to give the report, I had to leave to go to my kid’s hockey game.  But I got it from him the next day and will share that later. 

 

Where does the money go?! Chico councilor Randall Stone offers some answers

19 Jul

Thanks Councilor Randall Stone for sending me an interesting link to a table he’s posted regarding average salaries, by department, Downtown.

You can see it at this link:
www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=524942580893900&l=bf000f939b

But I’ll summarize – the fat paychecks are in “Public Safety”, police and fire.  Number One, Public Safety Management – and I’m not sure, but I think this covers everybody over the rank of “officer” – is paid an average, average, of $128,900/year.  Those salaries range from about $98,000 to the police and fire chiefs’ salaries at about $185,000/year.  

Peter Durfee, president of the Chico Police Officer’s Association, wants us to remember that these salaries include overtime. He makes the same circular argument the cops and fire have always made – if you’d hire more officers, we wouldn’t need so much overtime…but overtime is cheaper than hiring new officers…”  They won’t take structured overtime out of the contracts – the CPOA was just screaming for MORE structured overtime last year. Former CPOA president Will Clark said they needed to schedule overtime for EVERY three-day weekend. This is NOT cheaper than hiring new officers, especially if the new officers are paid their agreed-upon salaries of $63,000 – 80,000. Instead, everybody through the rank of sergeant is allowed to spike their checks with OT. The lieutenants just demanded and got raises because their underlings were spiking their paychecks so high as to be getting more salary.  But Durfee insists that overtime is not the same as pay. I can’t follow his reasoning, it’s like chasing a greased pig. 

Management certainly ain’t doing too bad, averaging $96,000 a year. Considering the city manager makes $212,000, and his immediate subordinates like Assistant City Manager make  $185,000 a year, you realize there has to be ALOT of management to average that out to $96,000.  At this point, Brian Nakamura has trimmed so many of the worker bees, about all we got left down there is Management.

As Randall Stone has reminded us, these figures are just PAY. They don’t include the pensions, benefits, and other expenses we pay to float these salaries.  

Thanks again Councilor Stone, and hope to see you again soon at an upcoming CTA meeting. 

Chief Beery needs to go, maybe Trostle too

9 Jun

I sent the letter below to the Enterprise Record last Sunday, Dave Little responded bright and early Monday that he’d run it, but hasn’t.   So, here it is, I won’t wait for him next time.

People have already forgotten Beery’s threats to close the airport station – guess why – because people don’t care unless something crawls right up their ass.   If he’d threatened Station 5, all those little yupsters over there in the subdivision that used to be North Valley Swim School would have their panties in a knot. If you don’t hold the stinking fish right up to their noses, they don’t give a shit. That’s the kind of people that have moved here over the Boom Years – stupid lemmings. If I have to read one more letter about the cops being cut, I’m going to barf – the cops have people like ex-chief Maloney’s wife writing in, spreading bullshit. Laurie Maloney is a fed pig. She sits with her husband on his $150,000+ pension and benefits, and she’s afraid the public is going to turn her apple cart over. Mrs. Piggy is going to get pushed out of the slops trough, oh no!

We need better chiefs. We need LEADERS, not mule drivers who threaten and whip. We may need to turn an apple cart over, get your gloves.

Who needs Dave Little – this is our newspaper!  Here’s my letter, if you send me something that’s not creepy or obscene, I’ll print it. 

Whenever we ask the public safety departments to curtail spending, they threaten to cut positions and close stations. This time Chief Beery is threatening to close the airport fire station, which will put the city afoul of federal air safety restrictions.  We ask the chief for leadership – instead he threatens public safety and the viability of the airport to protect his department. 
 
Our Finance Director has revealed  the city is losing about $70,000/month with the defeat of Measure J, the cell phone tax initiative. Meanwhile, the city spends over twice that amount – over $158,000 a month – paying the employee’s share of pension premiums. 
 
The police and fire departments, having the biggest budgets at about $22 million and $18 million, also pay nothing toward their pensions, so their pensions comprise the lion’s share of the ominous unfunded pension obligation.  
 
These pension agreements are a threat to public safety. During this last round of contract talks, it became very clear that most public safety employees will see their co-workers laid-off and positions go empty before they will step up and pay their own shares, for pensions of 90 percent of their highest year’s pay, available at age 50. 
 
Council signs these contracts because the public safety employees routinely make the biggest expenditure in every council campaign. If council was really working for us, they’d refuse to sign these contracts until the employees came back with a better deal.  
 

Juanita Sumner, Chico

UPDATE:  The ER finally ran my letter, over a week after I sent it. The cops made an offer to pay their own share the other  day, but they also wanted a raise to cover it!    They say they got a pay cut – no, they just didn’t get a raise. They call that a pay cut. 

We don’t need yer stinkin’ deals, Coppers!  

 

How dare they tell us, they don’t make enough money to pay their own pension premiums! They’ve made “sacrifices”?  Look at these salaries – this is just a sampling from one page, with regular pay and overtime:

  • Anthony Ferreira, Police Officer – $71,219.20 in reg pay, total $97,473.35 with overtime
  • Donald Finkbiner, Police Officer  – $71,219.20 reg pay, total $83,070.98
  • Daniel Fonseca, Police Sergeant – $87,913.76 reg pay, tot $121.145.91
  • Scott Franssen, PS – $95,638.40 reg pay, tot $126,657.16

You can see more salaries at the Enterprise Record. You’ll see “compaction” on page 2 – Lieutenant Jennifer Gonazales, at a regular salary of $101,000 year, is not allowed overtime, being an “at will” employee – she’s just supposed to be available for whatever comes up?  From what I’ve seen, she spends most of her overtime in meetings, like the Police Advisory Board meetings, making high school style reports on subjects like mental illness among the homeless population. She did receive about $15,000 in “special” and “other” pay, without any details beyond that description. But, down at the bottom of the page it says that for CSU  Chico, “Other pay includes police training, uniform, holiday OT and special assignment stipends; summer stipends or pay; and payments for indirect instruction, educational achievement, and misc. incentives.”

But, Gonzalez and the other lieutenants pitched a bitch because many sergeants, who are supposed to be subordinate to the lieutenants, were jacking up their $80 – 95,000 a year salaries with overtime, to waaaay more than the lieutenants were getting paid. So, despite the bullshit storm being stirred up by Peter Durfee of Chico Police Officers Assoc, they did so get raises in their new contracts. it makes me sick to have to listen to even Channel 7 perpetuating this horseshit campaign, letting Durfee shoot his mouth off on the news without any opposing viewpoints.

Durfee, by the way, padded on more than $30,000 to his seemingly innocuous-looking $63,000 salary, taking home more than $95,000 in 2012.

Here’s a response my letter got from a cop groupie, sitting next to her scanner in a negligee:

Linda Hinchcliff Rouland · Clear Lake High

Chico PD is the only city bargaining group that has come forward offering concessions to contribute toward their retirements in an effort to offer savings and keep their department operating. No one else has, and the city managers rejected the offer.

Yes, they certainly did reject it, and good for that. I wish people would try harder to be informed before they accuse ME of spreading misinformation – but this woman is obviously going to support the cops no matter what they do.