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Menlo Park fire board to consider modifying its compensation philosophy

Original post made by Peter Carpenter, Atherton, on Jul 14, 2011

19 July agenda item:





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.

Core Principles

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.


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