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Cut emergency crews yet hire a emergency planner for 233K a year?

Original post made by Concerned, Addison School, on May 26, 2011

According to this Mercury News article, the City of Palo Alto needs to cut a million dollars from the polcie and fire budget so they can hire a senior emergency planner who will make $233,000 a year. Planning is important and needed but when emergencies occur or disaster strikes, we're going to need cops and firemen, not planners. If times are tough, keep the boots on the ground and don't hire expensive managers.

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Comments (7)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on May 27, 2011 at 4:58 pm

$233K sounds like a lot for a planner. My hope (and assumption) is that the city will be able to find a qualified emergency for significantly less.

We already have too many ff's in PA. There are over 30 sleeping away every night in Palo Alto. How many do you think we need? If we could pay them the national average or the going rate for EMT's, we could hire 50% more and still have more money for parks and libraries. But why would hire more when PA FF's they already don't have enough to do and spend most of their time sleeping and shopping?

I think we all need to thank Spitaleri for bringing needed visibility to the excessive cost and staffing of the PAFD. Priority #1 now is to eliminate Binding Arbitration!

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Posted by Jake
a resident of another community
on May 28, 2011 at 10:48 am


And you have proof, data, anything to support your claims and slander?
How would you feel if your boss, company paid you the "national" average for your work? If everything else in this area from housing to gasoline prices were the "national average" I'm sure most FFs would be perfectly happy being paid the national average. Probably ever only worker would too.
Sorry to state the obvious but NOTHING in this area is priced at the national average. I live in the real world with real problems and REAL solutions. Not coffee table CEO's with a non workable solution for everything.
You have no idea what those firefighters/paramedics do on a daily basis, unless you have worked as an emergency responder than you don't know the details. Actual training required, on going education, classes, certifications, state and federal training requirements, etc.
If you are going to make your claims slamming a group of people then maybe you can show a little integrity and provide some proof?

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on May 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm

On average there is a fire every 3rd day in Palo Alto, and the fire may take a few ff's, a few hours of time, to put out the fire, and clean up their equipment. But we have over 30 ff's 24 hrs a day collecting their $175K pay package. They spend more time sleeping, shopping and relaxing than working. And they can retire at 50 with 90% pay and COLA. It is a racket and change needs to change. In San Diego the ff's start at under $40K per year. Nationally they average $50K. At those pay levels most of us would accept that this is the way the job is structured. But the ff unions have learned how to take the excess $'s from the public coffers, then contribute (influence & buy) political clout, to get the politicians to lard more $'s on the ff's. It is disgusting and unsustainable. It needs to stop and will stop. The unions will fight it all the way and talk about slander and integrity. Unfortunately, the unions have convinced me that the ff function needs to be outsourced to private industry.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on May 29, 2011 at 11:32 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

We have a police chief and a fire chief - what more do we need and why?

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Posted by Jake
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2011 at 1:29 am


Actualy the PAFD and PAPD has only one Chief right now, he manages both departments. One person only, not two.

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Posted by Jake
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2011 at 1:35 am


Again, you base your statements on what? News flash, Firefighters/Paramedics respond to other emergencies besides fires. Auto accidents with injuries, building alarms, chemical leaks, stuck elevators, medical emergencies, overheated equipment. Plus, fire inspections, training state and federal mandated,pre fire planning, drills, maint, equipment repair, etc, etc , etc.
`You can't just look up fire stats and draw a final conclusion as to what Firefighters do when not at a fire.

Like this comment
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Downtown North
on May 31, 2011 at 2:19 pm

You don't understand. PA ff's are underworked and overpaid. Needs to change. Instead of listing what you might do, break down an average shift. How may hours spent sleeping, shopping, reading, on the internet, etc. How many hours hanging around the station polishing the truck, inspecting fire hydrants etc. Then how many hours in the field on emergancy calls. About 70/20/10.

We don't want and can't afford your $175K costs. Should be between $50-$75k, fully loaded. We don't want any more ff's retiring at 50 with tax sheltered disability payouts. Retirement benefits start paying out at 67 and are limited to 50% of max salary.

First step will be eliminate binding arbitration.

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