Town Square

Post a New Topic

Overtime a way of life for some city employees

Original post made on Jul 11, 2008

Capt. Jason Amdur, a Palo Alto firefighter for 27 years, loves his job. His children are grown, so when he's asked to work overtime — a regular occurrence, particularly during the summer — he often accepts.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 11, 2008, 8:55 AM

Comments (45)

Posted by Leeroy, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 10:08 am

Our city employees work hard. They deserve proper compensation. The very bright side of this issue is that with such salaries and overtime pay, they too can afford to live in Palo Alto!

Posted by Just-Say-No-To-Labor-Unions, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 10:35 am

The following are the recent salaries of some of the Paramedics:


These salaries contained about 11% in overtime.

Most (if any) of these jobs require a college degree. The retirement for most of these people could easily be $125K to $150K alone.

The retirement packages for public safety people have become obscene, and will end up bankrupting many small towns. The newspapers were full of articles about this a couple of years ago. The City of Vallejo's current problems--driven by greedy public safety employees--is just a harbinger of things to come in most cities that have become unionized.

Posted by Just-Say-No-To-Labor-Unions, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 10:36 am

> Most (if any) of these jobs require a college degree.

Most (if any) of these jobs DO NOT require a college degree.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 1:07 pm

It is cheaper for the City to comply with Union mandated minimum staffing requirements with overtime than it is to hire additional staff. However, this is not very well understood by most residents.

Posted by how much longer can this go on?, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm

> It is cheaper for the City to comply with Union
> mandated minimum staffing requirements

This is one of the key issues .. the Union is in control. It has not check-and-balance. It is slowly driving the cost of labor to the point that the taxpayers will have to make an issue out of this one of these days.

Larry Klein ran on a platform that included cost control for labor. As soon as he got elected--he immediately started rubber stamping every spending item that was promoted by the Benest Administration.

The cost of labor is simply too expensive. It will have to become an issue one of these days. I don't expect hack politicians like Klein to do anything about it ..

However, this is a ticking time bomb.

Posted by Belanger, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Just-Say-No, get your facts straight. First of all, overtime accrual does not factor into retirement pay benefits. It is my understanding that the highest retirement percentage is set at 90% of the employees highest paid year, again, not including overtime. That 90% would only apply to those employees who complete 30 years of service. The majority of service retirements do not reach their full potential, especially in the emergency services. Regardless, when you say that "most" of the employees you listed will earn "125-150K" in retirement, that simply is not true. The numbers alone play that out.

I'm also not sure what you're trying to imply with the college degree reference, as if just having a degree alone should dictate a professional salary. Firefighters, paramedics, and police officers may not all have college degrees, but the skills and courage they do possess are just as valuable as other professionals and should be rewarded accordingly. I would venture to say that their skill level and expertise, along with the inherent dangers associated with their jobs, truly make them a precious commodity. For you to label their pursuit and motivation as being "greedy", is simply disrespectful.

Posted by how much longer can this go on?, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 11, 2008 at 7:07 pm

> get your facts straight. First of all, overtime accrual does
> not factor into retirement pay benefits.

Learn to read what was written. There was never any claim that it did. Of course, it's not hard to believe that Union lobbying will eventually see that change.

> For you to label their pursuit and motivation as
> being "greedy", is simply disrespectful.

You have got to be kidding! Being a cop or a fireman is just another job.. an not very dangerous at that. There are few fires occurring anymore (only about 4%) .. and 2/3rds of the number of actual "firefighters" are actually volunteers (who are the ones that should be getting the credit for heroism).

Sorry .. but public service personnel have gotten to the point they are beyond "greedy".

Posted by Belanger, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 8:07 pm

Not that dangrous and just another job? Wow, you really are out of touch with reality. I sincerely hope that you're just trying to ignite a furor, and not as ignorant as you sound. I would venture to say that you know little about what duties the men and women working in emergency services are faced with. The same duties that I suspect you would neither have the courage, talent, or fortitude to even consider taking on.

Posted by Stretch, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Maybe if the City weren't using the 9/80 program, and people worked five days each week.....? Seems like a lot of overtime happens on the every other Friday off, no? Funny how that works.

Posted by JF, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Let me know the next time your job requires you to be the first on every accident scene (as firefighters are). Maybe they are not always in physical danger or in the line of fire, but when you are the first to walk into a home where a teenager has blown their head tell me that it's easy and you would rather do it. When you have to play doctor, psychiatrist and bouncer in one moment or calm down someone with a firearm instead of an angry colleague.

Why is their job so much less "impressive" or not worth 6 figures as compared to say a project manager, lawyer or an engineer. Get over it! If we had less public safety workers, we as a community would notice. If we had less of the other "esteemed" tell me...who would notice. No offense to those mentioned...I happen to hold one of those jobs too;-).

Posted by JF, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 11, 2008 at 10:10 pm

PS- I would much rather see another 40K go to a willing employee than pay another salary with benefits & retirement. Seems like a cost savings to me.

Posted by how much longer can this go on?, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 11, 2008 at 10:58 pm

> Not that dangrous and just another job?

The US BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) provides stats about just about every profession. Loggers and fishing boat crewman have recently topped the list of the most dangerous professions. Only about 100 fireman a year actually are killed on the job--and about 2/3rds of that number are killed in accidents going/coming from a "call out", or from heart attacks related to being overweight.

Yep .. just another job.

Posted by fire supporter, a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2008 at 12:09 am

There are currently over 300 fires burning in California. How many fisherman or loggers are do you think are apending 24 hour shifts on the fire lines? Not many would be my guess.

On September 11, 2001, over 343 fire fighters and 60 police officers were killed in the line of duty. These were people that went into the buildings to try to save others. How many fisherman or loggers were killed going into those towers?

Nothing against fisherman or loggers, both very tough and noble professions, but the truth is when you're in touble or your house is on fire, you're not going to be calling a fisherman or a logger.

Posted by fire supporter, a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2008 at 12:11 am

There are currently over 300 fires burning in California. How many fisherman or loggers are do you think are apending 24 hour shifts on the fire lines? Not many would be my guess.

On September 11, 2001, over 343 fire fighters and 60 police officers were killed in the line of duty. These were people that went into the buildings to try to save others. How many fisherman or loggers were killed going into those towers?

Nothing against fisherman or loggers, both very tough and noble professions, but the truth is when you're in touble or your house is on fire, you're not going to be calling a fisherman or a logger.

Posted by trudy, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2008 at 12:28 pm

I understand these are tough jobs, but how many of us will retire in our 50s with 90% of our salary coming in each year after that. Pretty darn near 0 I expect.

Posted by Belanger, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2008 at 1:11 pm

To further the argument, just read today's news story on PA OnLine about the man that was arrested after shooting into homes. It was the not so ordinary task of the police department to respond to dangerous situations like this, for your information my fellow Palo Altans, that happen more often than we car to think about.

Posted by Manor, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Trudy, personally, I feel that our emergency workers deserve the benefit. First of all, the majority don't reach the full 90% benefit. One would have to stay in service 30 years to accomplish that. Tough to do considering the nature of police and fire work.

And you are correct, most other professions do not have retirement benefits like this. But from what I know of people in the business, they are not doing it to get rich. As Palo Alto goes, the fact is most cannot even afford to live in the city they are paid to protect. The rest of us probably won't retire with 90% of our salary in our 50's, but we also didn't spend our entire working lives doing the kind of work that most of us don't want to even think about, much less taking on ourselves. The police and fire profession is deserving of the retirement benefit. Many qualified people getting into the business do so because of these benefits. It's the least we can do considering the sacrifices these people have made. Dealing with 24-hour schedules, working holidays, having to not only witness, but professionally manage tragic, violent, ugly situations.

Posted by Mark, a resident of Stanford
on Jul 12, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Members of the community who think the job of a firefighter in Palo Alto is "easy" are probably looking only at one type of emergency in Palo Alto: fire. Yes, it's true that a serious fire in Palo Alto/Stanford/SLAC is very rare in Palo Alto -- but consider that there are THOUSANDS of medical calls each year.

This is where the firefighters work their hardest, at all hours of the day -- and constantly at early hours like 3am in the morning. They will be put in dangerous situations where traffic fails to yield to their Code 3 traffic, they will stand on the Foothill Expressway attempting to extricate a trapped passenger, they will expose themselves to bloodborne and airborne pathogens while attempting to start an IV or give an albuterol treatment.

And what exactly do they risk? Back injuries are incredibly common, and one bad call can ruin a career forever. Some of the emergency bags themselves weigh more than 30 lbs, and you can't imagine the amount of additional equipment they hand carry into the scene of an emergency. (Defibrillator -- an additional 20 lbs. Oxygen -- another 10 lbs.) Their emergency vehicles will expose them to chemical exhaust on a constant basis, and they are expected to fight fires even in hot weather like this, risking serious heat injury. And even though the federal government requires that airline passengers be able to survive a 16G crash, no such safety standards exist for the medics working in the back of the ambulance while they perform CPR on a patient in cardiac arrest.

If you saw the amount of work these guys do, you will be in awe. Particularly at 3am in the morning.

Posted by bogus bonuses, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 12, 2008 at 8:34 pm

If you want to talk about compensation, the Weekly should do a story on "bonuses" (they give it some other name} that City of Palo Alto managers receive annually on top of their regular salary. This bonus is for all employees categorized as "Management and Professional" (i.e., doesn't apply to the Union employees) and is an annual award based on their performance. The bonus is up to 3% of their salary!!

Why should managers in Palo Alto get a BONUS for doing their job?

Posted by Mike, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2008 at 8:41 pm

The unions have been very diligent about getting work rules that limit or eliminate the most kinds of non-emergency risks you mention above. The young firemen are in good shape because they had to be to join. I know some older ones that could hurt their backs trying to put on their socks. The weight rule does not seem to be diligently enforced.

Getting an on-duty back injury onto the record is a good enhancer for when retirement comes, and there is the possibility of an additional disability claim. Back in the 70s the City of Mountain View found that a large number of fireman reported injuries on duty that resulted from the volley ball court that was on the station grounds near downtown. They eliminated the court.

The job of fireman is like thousands of other jobs in our world-an honorable one. But if it is so incredibly tough why do thousands apply for every opening that occurs?

Posted by Benny, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2008 at 12:28 am

Mike, thousands may apply, but only a few are chosen, and many of those don't cut while in training or on probation. It takes a uniquely gifted person to deal professionally with what the police and fire personnel face every day and night. That's why we build memorials to them.

Posted by Tim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 13, 2008 at 8:24 am


To retire at age 50 at 90% of your pay. You would have to be hire at age 20.
I don't see any Fire and Police Depts hiring that young in the bayarea.

Posted by Leslie, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 13, 2008 at 9:51 am

Police Officers can accrue their retirement over 25 years in one County. If they wish to continue accruing they must transfer to a neighboring county. That is why so many PA police officers are now working in San Mateo.

Posted by Dante, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 13, 2008 at 3:02 pm

It is noteworthy that all Palo Alto union employees have generous pensions - not just police and firefighters.

While the non-safety people can't get to 90%, virtually all can get to 80% after 30 years (25 in some cases) on the job. I know a Park and Rec employee who plans to retire at 54 with the full 80% in a couple of years.

The post retirement benefits include generous medical and other goodies.

Palo Alto isn't alone. The state government and other cities are also on a collision course with reality. We simply can't afford to be handing out this kind of largess any more. (Nobody in the private sector gets this stuff because any organization that offered them would be quickly bankrupt - just like Vallejo, likely the first of a raft of coming municipal financial failures as the baby boom hires begin to retire.)

Time for someone to pull the plug on this crazy Ponzi scheme. Palo Alto prides itself on being a leader on so much non-important nonsense like Climate Change. How about being a leader on cutting back on employee expenses?: That's something we could be proud of.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Stanford
on Jul 13, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Dante- maybe you should go work for the state or city of Palo Alto?

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2008 at 7:05 am

Tim and the rest of you. I was hired at 20.

Now when you want to look at the whole story then we will talk. Tim you do not even know how many chief.

Why and Who gets the overtime is also very important.

You do not care when the Fire department wastes millions on a service the Citizens do not have. So why care about any PUBLIC FUNDS that are mismanaged.

Leslie. You are wrong. Some Cities have 3% at 50, not all.

They leave Palo Alto because it is a rats nest. They leave to go to a higher paying department to retire from if they want to increase there pay out.
If you do put 30 yers in and reach 90% that is as high as you can go. Period. Overtime does not go towards your retirement.

If you do move to a different Department you will get 3% of what you made there in your last years.

One thing you can count on in Palo Alto from the City and the Firefighters Union. They will lie to you. Make up some kind of BS story to cover what they really do or do not do.

We have had Employee's on disability for as long as 3 to 4 years. Paying them and not being able to hire to fill there position. This causes 3 to 4 yeras of overtime for this position.

There is a Special Assinment overtime that really needs to be looked into.

Posted by Fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2008 at 7:14 am

Benny, We do not build anything for the Firfighters in Palo Alto.
Willy-Nilly. and when the Palo Alto Fire Captain with 31 years of service passed away. The City refsed to send a reseve Fire Engine to carry his body to his final resting place.

RIP Allan Rush, Yes there are all VILLAGE IDIOTS as you have stated more than one time. A good man, a credit to the fire sevice.

I learned more from Allan than he might have ever known.

The City of Palo Alto Fire Department is lead by a group of Clueless idiots who have no idea what they are doing.

Good thing the public has no clue and is unable to figure very much out in this City.

You put the blue stuff(water) on the red stuff(fire) anything above that is a gamble. Good thing there are not many fires.
Might get in the way of the stickball game or the Fashion Show.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2008 at 7:23 am

Oh and as SO MANY of you FORGET, I made it. I was the youngest FIREFIGHTERS in the Department for many years. I was the youngest Paramedic in the Fire Department for many years. Forget I was a Paramedic for 12 years. I think I may have ben the youngest FIREFIGHTER/Paramedic the City OF PALO ALTO has ever had?

But all of you who have never done the job or worked for the City of Palo Alto really know what it was like. More so than the PEOPLE who have done the job, FOR REAL.

Hey that's Palo Alto. If you do not like the truth. Just make your own truth up. If that does not work. Settle with them and BE, NOT GIULTY, and not inocent. Then seal the record and no one will EVER know what really happened.

Its a matter of Pride. Or a matter of staying out of JAIL?

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2008 at 7:37 am

Dante, Use your real name.. Frank or The new guy?

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2008 at 7:47 am

Fire Supporter. A large number ,most of those death. The UNION blamed on the City of NY.

It was the fault of the union for LETTIN unsafe condition exhist.
They had no radio's to stay in contact with the LEADERS of the incident. Just like the CITY of Palo Alto.

The Firefighters need to look at themselvs and start to take some of the blame.
Are Union was so corupt and screwed up. Do not blame the GOOD firefighters. Do not lump them all together. To bad way to many ood firefighters have left Palo Alto or laughed when asked if they would work there.

Just look at the Palo Alto Firefighters Union work climate survey?

Oh yea the one the Union President and the Fire chief HAD to Hide and discredit, BECAUSE it made them look SO BAD.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2008 at 8:11 am

So many lies are being told in the name of OVERTIME.

You do not want to hear the truth, so keep paying the bill. and hush up!

the city leaders and the firefighters union do not want to change it so go away. like you always have.
Buy the BS excuses and go away> Just keep coughing up the BUCKS. and getting nothing for it.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff].

Posted by fire supporter, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Hey Fireman, my point had nothing to do with union issues or work conditions. My point is it's a DANGEROUS job which requires bravery and courage. Remember this, those guys went into a place/situation that everyone else was trying to get out of. I'm sure as they responded to the burning towers, they weren't thinking about how much overtime would be on their next check. They went in because that's what brave people do. Bravery and courage have nothing to do with union issues or overtime. So if you are/were a fireman my guess is your priorities are all mixed up and maybe you should get a job as a fishing boat captain or a logger.

Posted by Eric Blean, a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2008 at 1:46 pm

To fire supporter,

Thanks for the kind words and don't waste your time responding to this "fireman" ramblings.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Fire supporter. you a firefighter? I think you might be the one mixed up.

My priorities are to save lives, Firefighters and Citizens.

Not to play some political game to fool the public and cost the Fire Service 343 Lives.

The problems that help cause the death of these Firefighter we had in Palo Alto before 9/11/01. Had them for many years. Still have them after 2001. 7 years later.

Why can the City not afford to fix these problems. Millions where wasted on the Transport Engine you do not have. Millions wasted equals no money for the things that matter.
They can't tell how they wasted all the money. some might go to jail or lose there jobs at the least.
So cover it up. You buy the cover up.
So more firefighters get killed. Katrina was a whole bunch of City Managers and fire Chief getting caught in years of lies and mismanageing public funds and lieing about it.

The PALO ALto FIREFIGHTERS Union has made this City unsafe for the Firefighters.
But a 100 page report on this from the FIREFIGHTERS. The Union did nothing with.
The Union Survey. which showed what the Firefighters thought was the state of the department. The UNION PRESIDENT HAD TO HIDE and LIE about. To cover his and the Chief behind.

Read the book you will see many years of safety meeting minutes.
Did you know that the City of Palo Alto Firefighters had unsafe boots for year and the City could not even figure out how to pay for shoes for the Firefighters.
The Union has let this City do very unsafe things for many years.

So I do not think that you should cover up. poor leadership of any kind with FIREFIGHTERS dead bodies.
Ok for you. not for me.
So when you do get the courage up to try my work. get back to me. OK.

Sell your BS to someone else. When you get 20+ years of knowing what you are talking about. get back to me.

But we have firefighters who care more about overtime then other firefighters or the citizens. I have worked with some for 20 years?

Worked in a City where IMAGE was more important then the lives of any city employee.

Image is everything, It is a matter of pride.

Oh to make it clear. Union Issues and Working condition in Palo Alto has made a DANGEROUS JOB. Much MORE DANGEROUS!

And then when a FIREFIGHTER does lose his life. REMEMBER THE WILLY_NILLY issue.
Or did you already forget, Or just do not like that FACT so just make it go away?

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Yea Eric save the time to go to a FIREFIGHTERS or a visitor to palo alto's FUNNERAL.

Keep looking the others way. Stand up and take some blame for the 343 lives. That takes bravery and courage. not hiding and blaming everyone else?

Don't rock the boat they might cut back on overtime? Is spineless!

Posted by fire supporter, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Fireman, you are pretty bitter and angry. I think you need a hug.

Posted by fire suporter, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2008 at 5:34 pm

And BTW fireman, No...I'm not a firefighter, I just respect them. And as far as bravery and courage are concerned, I'm a military veteran of 12 years with 5 deployments to the western pacific, persian gulf, and mogadishu somalia. I've seen more acts of courage and bravery then you could dream about.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Fire Supporter. Things like life and death. Us who have seen. Know. We do not compare. We learn. We feel for others who have had to do the same.

You think it is OK to send are troops into war with NO armor?
When friendly fire kills someone, Oh Frank did it. He is one of the Generals friends . So he gets less punishment then the regular GI. Hell give him a promotion. That is how bad it was and had gotten in the City of Palo Alto.

A name for you.. Mr TILMAN... A very brave man. And look at how his death was dealt with. If that does not make you sick. You/I can forgive the mistake, someone has to live with it.


What happened to him and his family is OK?. It makes me sick and things like that .People like the ones who made the story up. NEED TO GO. PERIOD!
If you knew the truth would you just look the other way, say nothing. Orders?

Fire Supporter, Thank you for what you have done as a GI. I wish are government would support are troops more. I wish the Citizens of the USA would.
Blind support is not always good. You end up supporting people who are hiding. Thanks for supporting the fire service.

I would think that in your service you have found that not all the bad guys are bad.
And that many so called good guys. Have just not been caught yet.
The truth was never allowed to see the light of day.
Then years later the truth comes out> Have you been following what has been going on in this City.

Oh and I do not speak for the troops I support them all the way. NOT THE WAR. Something had to be done. And I do not have the answer. I just care about and want are GOVERNMENT to give the troops everything and anything they need. Not HUMVEE that should be in the parking lot of safeways at midtown. Paint them green and they are good to go? I do not think so!
And I do not hold anyone accountable for there orders. Are troops are doing there jobs the best they can. Take me to your leader and we will start the debate.
I do not hold the troops accountable for there order. I hold the person giving the orders accountable.

Oh and one of my very best friends is a COL. Full bird. D.J Andersen. He commands a Super cobra wing.
Want to piss he off, Call the troops that hide and then come out after the battle to get in the picture for the promotion. Brave.

you will learn a lesson on who is really BRAVE.
And it is not the Kiss butts and tom cruise want to be's.

Maybe this explains something.

THEY DREW FIRST BLOOD. I just wanted some food.
Lots of people hated him. The ones watching the movie. Had a different idea. They knew more of the story.

Just the person giving the orders, telling the stories. I hold accountable. And the ones hiding behind the brave doing the work,taking the risks.

Posted by Fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Pat Tilman
Place of Birth, San Jose. California
United States Army
2nd Ranger Battalion
Silver Star, Purple Heart

I think this is Bravery and Courage.

Former NFL Safety who turned down a contract from the Arizona Cardinals in order to join the US Army Rangers.

Killed in action April 22 2004, In Afganistan. Friendly Fire

Not so Brave, Not my idea of Courage.
Why and what happened to make this Finest Americans Mother have to live and deal with what the US MILITARY did to her and her son.

Four years after Pat Tilman was killed by his own troops his mother says " THE HEALING HAS BEGAN"


I do not know the word to pay respect to a person like Pat Tilman.
No words big enough.
Not just his death.No words can make that change. What happened after his death. No words will ever make that right to me.

People like to punish, Lots of you out there love it.So lets start there. Justice is what I like.

The person who should be punished the most. WHO'S IDEA WAS IT TO START LIEING?? WHO FOLLOWED BEHIND. TO KEEP THE SYSTEM MOVING? Would be next. THE ONES WHO SAID NOTHING!!Follow
Most likely the least punished, The person who pushed the button.
It is a war and people do make mistakes.
What they do after THE MISTAKE is more important then the mistake. Many times.
Being fair and honest is one thing this is about.

We kill are own TROOPS in PALO ALTO also. And cover it up just like the Army.
The Union president is the one in the field. The IAFF th ones telling the big story. Covering up for actions that someone inflicts on others under there name and support.
Just too big, Like the armed forces. Some bad apples. Have to draw the line some where.

Fire Suporter.
Do you think what the MILITARY DID HERE was right. Do you support that?
Have a problem with what happened.
Think it would have been better to say nothing and keep up the blind support of the ones who caused this? The ones who lead this scandal.

Do you think people who would do something like that ARE ONLY IN THE MILITARY?
Do you know, A year ago or so. A women who works in the school distric of Palo Alto. Said "I felt safer during my tour of duty in Afganistan then working here in Palo Alto.

What does that say to you.

Bravery nor Courage is you or me on this weak forum.

Go over to LP Childrens Hospital. You will find little people as if not more brave then any grown fireman,cop or armed forces member.With more Courage than I will ever have. And they get no overtime or promotions. Not one bonus.

Your Job. Is to take life if you must. My JOB WAS?IS TO PROTECT LIFE. ALL.... ALL THE TIME> That includes Firefighters. Troops. Citizens. all life.

Find out about who you are attacking. Both sides of the story.

You buy the story,excuse,lie,cover up. About the Flags Willy-Nilly for the death of Two Firefighters . In the Line of Duty Deaths.


They were told you can not lower the Flags. Period. end of story.

I ramble, because you think no place could be that screwed up and outof control.
Well it is. Why do you think and how do you think this all started?

I think we should fly the FLAGS half staff until the LAST AMERICAN is home!!
People we have Americans in Harms Way, Do not forget about them,
RIP 5000+ and counting.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2008 at 4:17 pm


What do you think the leaders of that cover up would do to anyone who, wanted to tell the real story of what happened.
You can tell me no good members of the Army where injuried in the MAKEING of the COVER UP> I would not believe you. I would bet several excellent members of the Army paid dearly to get the truth out. We just never hear the whole story. Like you and the others. Some do not think the truth is right for them, so the make there own and then believe it. It is the only way the can function.
Like many on this forum and in this City.
I have no idea how that affected the Army. I know it did. I know it was not good.

Posted by Cops Wife, a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Seeing some of your comments about community servant benefits not being "deserving" or that they have just another job is not only sad but very ignorant on behalf of the writer. Beyond the "benefits" is a life many spouses and children sacrafice for in the name of community safety, both yours and mine. Because of long hours,weekend work shifts, holiday shifts and necessary overtime in addition to their already long work day, many marriages suffer which is why divorce is so high in this profession. Moments in your childrens lives are missed. Daddy or mommy is not home for dinnner most nights, spouses go to bed alone,the other spouse often lives a single married life if you know what I mean. If you are lucky and work at it, your relationship survives (often not without many trials and strain). Yes, it is a dangerous job. You, the average citizen are lucky to never really know what really happens in your city. It is a luxury to be so blissfully ignorant. It is what they sign up for, but it is not without many sacrafices for the entire family. If they survive to see retirement, they have earned every bit of their benefits. Unfortunately by then many have lost something along the way. I love my husband, he is a hero in my eyes but he is missed terribly when he is gone and being a cops wife can be very lonely and difficult. It is not for the weak, nor is being a cop. Remember, when you complain about the money the benefits they recieve, that you had the chance to be a hero too. Unfortunately, you have chosen to be a sad.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2008 at 9:36 am

Cops wife makes many good points. She falls short of Finishing part of the story. Anyone who has done the job knows how she feels.

And for doing all that we do Cops/firefighters. We should be treated fairly. All city Employee's should be treated fairly. We all should have the same rights.

When Police officer or Firefighters see their department falling apart and millions of dollars being wasted. When Common sense is no where to be found. And anyone trying to change things for the better.
Becomes too much of a risk, Outsiders might find out just how bad the working conditions are if you try to fix them. How unsafe the job has become due to poor leadership and planning. When politics rules the FIRE DEPARTMENT and the union president plays the game and gets his PERSONAL rewards from the City for helping with any and all cover ups. Selling out union members along the way.
After that. The City who has wasted all the publics funding. Needs to make up for it somewhere so, they attack the benfits and wages of the Police officers and the Firefighters. Well all the City Employee's below the top memebers, or any special interest employee's. Like a city attourney who does not want you to write anything down?. 9 mounths of pay for Frank? and his circle?

Ever hear a story from your husband how the City screwed someone over and the Union did nothing. Took or denied there benifits or medical care?

20 years in the palo alto fire depart. 12 years as medic.
I need a shoulder joint replacement from an on duty injury. The City fought me for 5+ years and then just beat me down like they said they would. As I was told. It does not matter if you are Right. we are the city of palo alto. We have all the money to fight you with. We will break you. The City has no life. It will do whatever it takes to break you. We make the rules. They did. I am broken. Not gone, just not right.
The fire department turnned into the Titantic and may firefighters knew the ship was/had been going down for many years. Some got off, some just loaded up with all the goodies they could and found thier own liferaft. In a culture of fear you do what you can to survive as long as you can. When you see all the people at the top grabing all the benifits they can. You even start to grab some for yourself at least start to think about it.

I hope you get a chance to read my book. First I will post an outline of the book on You tube. Start, Fire chief to the state, Union leadership, Years of Firedepartment reports , special orders ,programs, How it is like to live with the people you work with. Yes Live for FF.

A fellow paramedic was having problems at home . He was under lots of stress. he asked the leaders of this department for sometime off the Ambulance. Stress relief.
They refused. That was his problem and he needs to deal with it and leave it at home. They are no longer married? Is that the KInd of Public safety department you want your HUSBAND to work for?

I have seen way too much and way too many people wrounged by the CITY OF PALO ALTO. I am one of them. There are many.
I will get the story out. You will see how it really was.
Do what you want with it.

2 Firefighters lost their lives in the LINE OF DUTY. In a house fire in Contra Costa Co.

The City of Palo Alto REFUSED to lower the flags. The Union and the Chief cooked up some BS cover up.
No Fire chief, assistent chief, Battalion chief. City mangager, NO IAFF UNION PRESIDNT!! could figure out that the flags needed to come down? They had the plan, They said. It was a mistake. it was a lie!

They did not lower them... I was not in the CITY. I would have lowred them and let the City do what it wants to me!!
I can take Willy-Nilly.

My brother FIREFIGHTERS lost their lives and the City of Palo Alto Fire Department .. Tells lies about why they did not lower the flags.
How hard is it to un tie a knot and let 20 feet of rope out. and retie it??
I guess just to hard for the leaders of this City, The leaders of the fire department, Its members or the UNION PRESIDENT.
Yes Mr President do as you are told! Not what your Union memebers need.
Complainer or someone who will not stand bye and watch?
Someone who will not let,, THE SYSTEM win....again.

You know the life CW. The people doing the job need people like yourself at home for them. Good Luck.
Please read the book. It talks about shift life and just what you wrote about.
Things are not always good in these departments FD,PD, but we must stand up to the City and its poor leadership.
People have tried to make changes and help. For so many years they killed the messenger. That is how and why this City is in such sad shape as it is now.
For way to many year nothing has been done. Now look at where you are. And it is not going to get any better. Until you fix the problems. Frank was only one of the problems. There are many problems that must be fixed.

Posted by Palo Parent, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 18, 2008 at 11:01 am

fireman: How can one reserve a copy of your book? I think you need to re-jigger the name though. As it is titled: "why must spelling and grammatical errors Count against you and you're FIRE CAPTAIN APPLACATION?" will not call attention to your spot-on analysis and well-balanced opinions. I can't wait to see the outline on You tube. Any idea when you'll have that up?

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2008 at 2:50 pm

Palo Parent. I use spell check when I write. Sit down and write. The forum I just give it to you as it comes out. And we can see why I was a Paramedic/firefighter and not a teacher or Engineer Like my Father. It real was my calling. I miss it very much and many of my brother and sister firefighters. The City of Palo alto" The good employee's" and the Citizens diserve so much more than they have been getting for many,many years.

If you had a copy of what I called "My story" You would see that I am not a complete idiot. Just a little one.

Funny to write a book, one does not even have to write anything down. The City Attourney would like to hear that.
I was told just tape it. Get a tape recorder and just tape it.
They will have someone make a transcript and have a real writer help me.

The story starts out here. In palo alto. Lots of history on how this department was ran and what type of firefighters their are here. Good ,bad and the ones in between. Follows The past chief to Cal-Fire, working for the state of california and how he and The Union president made that happen, SCAM. Then goes to Sunnyvale.
Goes to the senate, covers the ACLU. Other forums.

I think you migh see how. Failed City managers and Fire Chief played a huge role in what went wroung.

You will see what was going on in this department before and after 9-11-01.
There is so much to write about I can not cover it all. I hope to add information from other City Employee's past and present. Maybe a second book.
I want to send a rough draft to Mr Moore, To bad he used the Title Sicko already. I think this would make a good movie subject for him.

Lots of pages of Copies of City Emails and general orders. Reports ,Safety meeting minutes. Fashion shows, Inflatable boats. Chad Mc Donald and Million Dollar City Managers To spineless Fire Chiefs, BLS units and vanishing Morphine. 100 page report on the transport Engines. Letters on a Firefighter who was electrocuted. The whole Union survey. The Work Climate Survey and How Pa Fire was the First Cal-fire. The survey shows that. The letters written before it was pasted out. The survey its self. and the REASON why it is all true. And if you buy the load of BS that the past chief and the Union president sold you. You will see how it is all a big lie. A couple people through the whole survey off. Yea Right... Just the two that it PLACES the blame on are the ones who made the story up. Most of the Firefighters are too embaressed or so far down the denial river that they just turn the other way and count how many years,days and hour until they can retire and get the hell out!
Then the others that can only advance by how low they will go. Because what they know won't get them there.

It is not what you know but, how low you will go. This should replace it is a matter of pride.

As they tell me. Keep it small. Then you can always add to it later. Get more information and expand it to the state and federal level and cover the IAFF as it works"Does not work" In the City of Palo Alto.
In my heart I really do not want to HAVE to do this, But I must. This story, what happens in this City must be told. You must see how the SYSTEM is so very corupt and how this Union has made the IAFF Union a huge DANGER to the firefighters here in Palo Alto and THe Whole FIRE SERVICE.

I think it is very plan to see I will reach more of you on YOU Tube.

Oh BTW. ON You tube is a vedio on (9/11) put out by the IAFF. It would be nice if you could see it before. You see my You Tube show.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2008 at 3:05 pm

I forgot to add something.

It should read you will see how FAILED City Managers and FIRE CHIEF's a long with a IAFF that does not really know what is going on in the Fire service. Cost New Orleans dearly.

FEMA was the scapegoat, It was so screwed up at the lower levels and the FEDERAL and State levels before the first drop of rain ever hit the ground. How could FEMA fix that.

An IAFF that turned political selling out its memebrs to cut some backroom under the table deal. Or at least my Local 1319 IAFF works that way.

I wil post here when you can see it. I will be at a City Council meeting also to let you know when.

If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Touring the Southern California “Ivies:” Pomona and Cal Tech
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 5 comments | 3,073 views

Couples: Parallel Play or Interactive Play?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,352 views

Just say no
By Jessica T | 6 comments | 1,275 views

SJSU Center for Steinbeck Studies to Honor Author Khaled Hosseini on Weds Sept 10
By Nick Taylor | 0 comments | 778 views

Candidate Kickoff Events: Public, not just for supporters
By Douglas Moran | 3 comments | 232 views