Tag Archives: City of Chico fire department

Maybe Linda Murphy should have “the facts” before she accuses another letter writer of mis-stating anything.

1 Jan

Here’s Ken Campbell’s response to the questions I asked him in my letter to the editor – he got somebody’s mother to call me a liar. 

Letter: Letters didn’t have the facts

Chico Enterprise-Record
Posted:   01/01/2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Two recent letters in the E-R incorrectly state facts that are not true.In one letter, the writer states the Chico Fire Department is the only city department that contributes to its own pension plan and they pay 4 percent. I don’t know if they are the only department, but I do know they already contribute 7 percent.

Secondly, it is stated the Fire Department gets paid for 56 hours a week with 16 of those hours being overtime. No, their salary is based on 56 hours of straight time worked per week. After 56 hours, they are paid overtime. An employee who works 40 hours for a $60,000 salary actually makes more money per hour than an employee who works 56 hours for that same $60,000 salary.

It would seem to me that the Chico Taxpayers Association should be calling on the city of Chico management to explain the benefit packages offered by the city to all employees, not just one department. If benefits need to be changed, it should apply to everyone.

— Linda Murphy, Chico

First of all, I never “stated facts” in  the letter – I asked questions. Ken Campbell never came back, but this woman, whose name matches a fire department staffer, comes back to put words in my mouth and  call me a liar. Not by name, of course, but she references the Chico Taxpayers Association.

Second, she says the fire department contributes 7 percent – they do not. I’ve got the figures.  I’ll cut and paste it here from the records I was sent, sorry it’s kind of a mess, but you can figure it out.

Bargaining Units Employer Rate Employee Contribution
City Payment of
Employee Contribution
Total CalPERS
Contribution (City &
Retirement Formula EPMC

CEA 23.831% 6% 2% 31.831% 3% at 60 Yes
SEIU ‐ TC 23.831% 3% 5% 31.831% 3% at 60 Yes
WPEA 23.831% 3% 5% 31.831% 3% at 60 Yes
IAFF 31.006% 2% 7% 40.006% 3% at 50 Yes
CPOA 31.006% 0% 9% 40.006% 3% at 50 Yes
CPSA 23.831% 0% 8% 31.831% 3% at 60 Yes
MGMT 23.831% 4% 4% 31.831% 3% at 60 Yes
PSM 31.006% 0% 9% 40.006% 3% at 50 Yes
CONFID 23.831% 8% 0% 31.831% 3% at 60 Yes

Let me sort that out for Linda – the fire department “Bargaining Unit” is the IAFF, or “International Association of Fire Fighters.” The “Employer Rate” is 31.006%, the “Employee Contribution” is 2%. The “City Payment of Employee Contribution” means, the part of the “employee share” that is PAID BY THE CITY. There’s another 7 percent, paid by US! That adds up to a total contribution of 40.006 percent, on a pension that will pay 90 percent at age 50. “Yes” means, they get the “EPMC”, or “Employer Paid Member Contribution” – that’s the 7 percent paid by the city. 

So, yes, I was wrong in my letter! They don’t pay 4 percent, THEY PAY 2 PERCENT! And we, the taxpayers, pay the other 7 percent of their share, plus another 31%. And our share increases every year, according to documents I was given by city councilor  Mark Sorensen and city manager Brian Nakamura.

Linda, you need to get the facts straight before you sit down in front of your box again and call ME a liar. 


More questions for Ken Campbell – every answer is just another can of worms!

16 Dec

As I was saying in a previous blog, I recently been struggling through the city firefighters’ contracts, and I don’t mind saying, it’s all Greek to me. “Legalese,” I think it’s called. The worst thing is, they treat you like a moranus because you don’t understand the gobble-ty-gook they spin up just to make sure you don’t understand.

Here’s how they explain the pay rate in the current IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters, the union) contract:

Regular Hourly Rate

 1.2.5. Regular Hourly Rate. Regular Hourly Rate shall mean an hourly rate calculated by summing all non-overtime and non-out of class pay for the bi-weekly pay period, with the specific exception of Holiday Pay as defined in Section 2, Subsection 5.3.1, and dividing the total by 112 for Employees assigned to a fifty-six (56) hour work week, and by 80 for those employees assigned to a forty (40) hour work week.

As my friend Stephanie Taber said recently about the firefighters’ contract, “confused???? so am I!”   Stephanie is way more patient than I am, when she doesn’t understand these documents, she e-mails the appropriate department and asks the questions, then sticks around long enough to get an answer. 

In the letter I wrote to the editor, I asked about the 56 hour week – did that mean 16 hours of guaranteed overtime? Is that how some of these employees almost DOUBLE their salaries?   One person I saw on the salary charts had added $80,000 in OT to his $90,000 salary – and he’s not the only one who does that.  As I pointed out in my letter, the fire department alone bills for over a million dollars a year in overtime. I wonder, how do they do that? 

When Stephanie asked the human resources department about overtime, here was the response: “Under the terms of the IAFF MOU City firefighters get paid overtime for any hours they work in excess of 56 in a seven day period.”

Okay, now I’m confused. You can schedule people for 56 hours without paying them overtime? News to me. And, I still don’t understand, how do they rack up the overtime pay when they have to work over 56 hours a week to get  it? I mean, there’s not a house burning down or an accident every freaking minute. In fact, hours and hours go by, every day, when nothing justifying the use of gasoline even happens around here. 

I got a new question. Are we paying people to sleep? To watch tv? To take the hook and ladder to the grocery store? 

Human Resources offered more explanation: “In addition, under the terms of the Fair Labor Standards Act, they get paid overtime for any hours they work in excess of 182 in a 24 day period.  For the City of Chico this equates to an additional 5 hours of pay for each person every 24 day period.”

I keep seeing that word, “work”, and I keep wondering, “what do they mean by ‘work‘?” 

So I will keep asking my questions.