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Firefighters offer to help close budget gap

Original post made on May 10, 2009

The president of the Palo Alto Professional Firefighters Union has offered to save the cash-strapped City of Palo Alto $700,000 by postponing a scheduled raise for firefighters, a move that prompted Vice Mayor Jack Morton to thank the group for "stepping up to the plate" this week.

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Comments (11)

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Posted by James
a resident of Barron Park
on May 10, 2009 at 12:32 pm

I applaud the fire department for making an effort to help solve the city's budget deficit. Perhaps other departments will also step up and do the same... If we all agreed to take a 10% pay cut it would be almost equivalent to cutting 10% of the workforce.

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Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on May 11, 2009 at 11:40 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff].

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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 11, 2009 at 11:51 am

That's very generous of the city firefighters.

But could someone find and post accurate information on what percentage of the firefighters and other city employees are living in Palo Alto? I'm wondering what proportion of our civil servants can afford to live in the city for which they work.

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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm

That is very generous of our wonder fire department. Why are we not discussing cutting non-essential programs? Children's Theater, Parks and Rec, Children's Museum, do our summer camps cost the city or make them money...

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Posted by Ben
a resident of Barron Park
on May 11, 2009 at 2:48 pm

I'm glad to see the fire fighters helping out our cash-strapped city. The shuttle is another service that should be dropped. It costs at least $10 per rider. Thank you palo alto mom for your ideas.

It's truly a school bus since a large percentage of riders are school kids. If it was for the citizens, it wouldn't be discontinued in the summer when schools are closed but residents still ride!!

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Posted by Firefighter
a resident of another community
on May 11, 2009 at 5:41 pm

To Palo Altan,

Only two Firefighters live in the city. One being the Fire Chief.

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Thanks firefighters,this Palo Alto resident appreciates it.

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Posted by solon
a resident of Professorville
on May 11, 2009 at 9:38 pm

EVERY firefighter can afford to live in Palo ALto.
WE HAVE ALL INCOME LEVELS HERE, Knowledge of low income services, from affordable housing, to Mayview Community Clinic for Health, to food programs, to legal aid, will inform us that there aremany, many people below poverty line, thousands of low income, plus of course large number of well off upper middle calss and a fair number of just plain old successul people.
But, teachers in California are about the highest paid in US, have a higher ownership rate of homes than high tech workers!

Probable median family income of teachers in Palo ALto is 160,000 to 240,000, with spouse, second income, and investment.

Please put up data if you like, many firefigheters are 1oo,ooo or so, plus spouse, 50,000 or so, investment income for many, usually real estate, PLUS MANY have full time or near full time SECOND jobs, such as appraiser, insurance adjuster, etc.

These are TOO WEALTHY to even qualify for our housing programs.

One of the MAIN reasons police, firefighters, don't live here is two fold: they want to be off work at home, and many prefer to live near other in their profession, especially police.

We maybe at the point that public employees earn more than private employees even here in Palo Alto, I mean residents; commuters probably earn more than residents.

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Do the math...a firefighter's salary is 80,000 and some change- hardly enough to qualify for a home in Palo Alto. Those making more than that work occasional overtime shifts. Due to the fact that OT is not guaranteed, lenders will not count overtime as qualifying income for a home loan.
And before you jump on the 80,000 as being ridiculous, consider that firefighters are on the job 56 hours per week which is 40% more than the average worker. On the same salary at 40 hours a firefighter would make around 50,000. And NO, they do not get OT for that extra 16 hours. Federal labor law states firefighters do not qulify for overtime pay until they work over 53 hours per week.

Like this comment
Posted by Firefighter
a resident of another community
on May 11, 2009 at 10:03 pm

To Solon,

Many Firefighters chose to live where their spouse works.

Like this comment
Posted by Mel
a resident of Professorville
on May 11, 2009 at 10:11 pm

And consider this Solon, unlike the hi-tech workers you refer to, police and firefighters potentially risk their lives every day, doing work that very few of us would be willing to undertake, much less be qualified for. I respect what these men and women do, and believe they're worth every penny.

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