Menlo Park fire board to consider modifying its compensation philosophy
Original post made by Peter Carpenter, Atherton, on Jul 14, 2011
MENLO PARK FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
PROPOSED REVISIONS TO BOARD POLICY AND
PROCEDURES MANUAL SECTION 5.11
EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION PHILOSOPHY
The Board of Directors of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District ('District')
hereby adopts this policy concerning the compensation of its employees. The District's
Board of Directors shall observe this policy when adopting compensation plans and
contracts covering District employees.
Principle No. 1 ' Recruitment and Retention: Compensation should, when
economically feasible, be set at a level sufficient to recruit and retain employees who are
qualified and committed to provide high quality services to the community. One critical
measure of whether compensation meets this criterion is whether there are a sufficient
number of qualified applicants for advertised job openings.
Principle No. 2 ' Fairness: The Board shall strive to ensure its compensation
program is fair and equitable from all legitimate perspectives, including the perspectives
of the community, labor and management. The District may choose to survey public
and private employers to evaluate the appropriateness and fairness of its compensation
program. The Board is directly accountable to the District's constituents, and the Board
accordingly retains the discretion to determine the fairness of all compensation
Principle No. 3 ' Transparency: Compensation for all District employees should be
100% transparent ' i.e., the public should be able to see all pay elements, including the
cost of all health, pension and welfare benefits, applicable to each employee. District pay
packages should be simple and easily understood. Safeguards must be in place to
prevent abuses such as pension spiking and maximizing overtime through manipulation.
Principle No. 4 ' Fiscal Sustainability: All compensation commitments must be
made consistent with principles of fiscal sustainability and to ensure the District's long
term success in achieving its mission. Compensation adjustments must not compromise
the District's ability to successfully meet its ongoing and future financial commitments.
The Board shall observe its Labor Relations Policy and Plan.
Principle No. 5 ' Accountability: All compensation commitments must be expressly
delineated and are subject to formal approval by the Board of Directors. The Board will
not abide 'implied' or unwritten contracts, or unspecified 'past practices,' that purport
to require employee compensation.
Principle No. 6 ' Performance Based Pay: Whenever reasonably possible,
compensation shall be tied to merit and performance. The District shall not permit pay
increases based merely on the length of employment.
Principle No. 7 ' Economic Climate: The District shall consider the overall economic
climate and condition affecting the District and its constituents when setting
compensation levels, including regional economic indicators such as the rate of
unemployment, inflation, current and projected revenues, and the District's anticipated
ability to pay in the long term.
Principle No. 8 ' Legal Compliance: The District will ensure that its pay practices
comport with the Fair Labor Standards Act and, to the extent legally applicable, State
law. The District renews its commitment to negotiate in good faith with labor pursuant
to the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act ('MMBA'), and to abide by all requirements of the
Principle No. 9 ' Flexibility: The District shall strive to remain flexible and
innovative in light of changing conditions and improving technologies, and shall
continually re-evaluate its pay practices to ensure they are consistent with best practices.