Firefighters Lose. How Much Do They Make, Anyway?

Here’s a fun repeat-post from last spring – featuring two of 4SD Observer’s favorite idols: emergency service providers and the dim-witted Pam Keller. For sheer fat-headedness, selfishness, and fiscal irresponsibility, you just can’t beat the ESP union.

– Joe Sipowicz

Pam Keller was the only city council member who did not have the guts to impose a %5 pay reduction on members of the Fullerton firefighter’s union after negotiations failed on Tuesday. The union refused to accept a deal similar to those offered to all other Fullerton employees.

The union says the pay cut is unfair. Is that true? Let’s see what firefighters actually took home last year:

View the 2009 Fullerton Fire Dept payroll

In addition to the gross pay numbers above, firefighters receive the following estimated benefits at the city’s expense:

Pension contribution: ~30% of base salary. Ranges from $15,000 to 28,000/yr, not including unfunded liabilities
Medical: $5,460 to $14,748/yr
Dental: $588 to $1,128/yr

Not a bad gig. It’s no wonder there are hundreds of applicants whenever a position opens up.

Does Keller really think that asking this highly compensated group of public employees to take the same pay cut as everyone else was “unfair?’

Us public employees gotta watch out for each other.

Or perhaps Pam is just sticking to what Pam does best: Helping folks suck as much as possible out of the public trough. By any means, at any cost.

152 Replies to “Firefighters Lose. How Much Do They Make, Anyway?”

  1. Too bad their rank/title is not included in the list. Keller is just protecting her fellow civil servants and the votes she hopes to get from them. Unfortunately, all of their support, votes, and union money will not get her re-elected. She’s done.

  2. What is this thing you call unfunded liability? I will fund these with jobs. I created 500 jobs at my job fair.

  3. We have nice lounge chairs too, although my bed is a little lumpy. Other than that, this job is great. And the ladies love it. I’d do this as a volunteer for that factor alone.

  4. Even Bankhead the pro-union RINO had to vote for this pay cut, along with democrat Quirk-Silva.

    Keller’s shot at public service has become nothing more than “public employee service.”

  5. Stop being so mean. No other council member has a her own posse or a publicly funded not-for-profit gravy train!

  6. why blame unions???…their wages are negotia
    ted….its called collective bargaining!!!!!..some people are too dumb to bargain for pay and benefits…..

    1. Are you serious? Government unions exercise such great sway over legislators that regular people don’t stand a chance. With the majority of union members now working for the gov’t unions no longer represent average people, but are a substantial and worsening drag on our society.

      Gov’t unions, unlike private unions, have no competition and thus generally deem themselves not only immune from economic reality, but fiscal restraint as well. If a private company union pushes too far the company dies & unions learns a lesson. With Gov’t unions the solution to to simply raise taxes.

      Sorry guys, but these numbers are OUTRAGEOUS by a good 40-50%, never mind the exorbitant pensions, which nobody else has. Don’t like what’s offered? Leave. We’ll find any of the hundreds waiting in line to do the job. How selfish can people get?

      1. Wow, those are high salaries, but lets see how many hours they actually work? How much overtime and time away from their families and children’s activities did they miss?

        Penision stats are wrong. They get 9% of the base salary, which is probably around $7,000 a year. It is amazing how people complain without knowing the facts. The city council can vote to not give them a raise at anytime and public safety is the only union that cannot strike and not work. Therefore, they don’t have to give any of them a raise.

        I am not a fireman, but maybe all you complainers could be one since you are obviuosly jealous! Probably too fat or enjoying your welfare.

        Thanks to all you firefighters who take care of us during car crashes and other emergencies.

        1. Again, nice try my the misinformation club. Publkic saftey pensions have two elements, the employees share which is 9% (typically paid all or most by the taxpayers despite the label “employee contribution”) and what is now between 48% to 56% depending on what jurisdiction you are in for the employers portion.

          As for sall the long hours, join the club. All hard working citizens are away from their families while they are at work. Since when did time for public saftey employees to be with their families become more sacred that for the rest of us?

          The problem with the firefighter unions is they will no longer let us appreciate them unless it includes placing them on a pedestal and giving all we have and then some.

          How about we go back to the pension formula we offered when all these guys took the jobs in the first place? We appreciated them plenty when the formula was 2% at 55. They were still loked at with love and admiration then. The only thing that changed is they now believe that for the same work firemen have been doing for 100 years we should go broke paying for it.

  7. It’s just inconceivable to me that over the years firefighter salaries have risen to this level even in times where there is zero issue with recruiting good people. I’m not trying to diminish the job. Obviously it’s an important job, but how does one answer the question, what does a firefighter deserve? It’s an unanswerable question outside of the context of the market. It leads to ludicrous answers like, “5% more than the median in the county.” Not to speak of the fact that there are good fireman and not so good fireman. We also have a group of people who are in an excellent position to create demand for themselves by advocating for policies which greatly expand their resources. If I recall correctly, there were 11 fire trucks, I don’t know how many police cars and I am certain over 80 personnel from several cities at a house fire on the corner of Dorothy and Victoria several months ago. It’s just raw insanity.

    1. I don’t think it was too insane to have the personnel there at this fire. I remember that two people died and it was a pack-rat type house that easily could have done far more damage in the neighborhood. How many fire and police personnel would you like to see handle this? I don’t know why everyone is so negative towards good people doing their jobs.

    2. Do you know that that particular fire you are talking about on dorothy and victoria our Fullerton Firefighters pulled a young woman out of that burning house, i saw it with my own eyes!!! our firefighters are only asking for what is fair!!! i think we need to play the 911 attacks on our country every day to remind us that 343 firefighters and police officers payed the ultimate cost for our safety, shame on all of you


    1. Yes, it is truly an awful job. That’s why 300 qualified hopefuls line up every time a single job opening appears.

      1. Thousands of hopefuls line up for a shot at the NBA, NFL, PGA. Do you see them making less because there are so many that want to do the job? Many want to do the job, but few truly can.

  9. It’s just self preservation. She’s up for reelection in November and she’s going to need all that union dough. Her reputation has taken a huge dive over the past 12 months.

  10. thanks to FFFF, we the people who pay taxes, know “the smile” Keller pulls down $100,000 for not working in a classroom and not doing anything with her fullerton collaborative

  11. If none of the firemen quit (that is, go out and find other, easier and better compensated jobs) as the result of this setback in their compensation, should we then have second round of 5% pay cuts brought before the Council for approval?

    As I recall, “all Marines are riflemen” that is, they are ALL trained to proficiency with small arms.

    Similarly, ALL members of the Navy are trained to be firemen.

    So, you don’t have to select new hires from among those who are merely “qualified” (i.e. among the 300 to 1,000 applicants for each job vacancy) as Johnny Donut identified above. Instead you can easily hire fully trained and proficient firemen replacements to start on day one.

    If our firemen and other city employees do not recognize how supportive and forthcoming the taxpaying citizens of Fullerton have been, then perhaps we should cut their pay by 5% each months until they all quit and then we can go out and hire an entirely new crew, at the new reduced base pay level reached when the last of our existing firemen quit.

    Does anyone doubt that this could be done instantly and without ANY adverse impact on city services or safety?

    1. Lets say your house catches fire, better yet maybe you will have a heart attack today {if you have a heart} we will send someone with no experience to your house fire and save the foundation, second issue with your heart attack, I hope they cant find your house, or appartment….ponder that idiot

  12. All you cry-babies complaining about how much FFF make are the same ones freaking out when your house or business is on fire that you need someone out there right away! Or, when the SantaAna winds kick up and burn everything down, these same Firefighters are putting their lives on the line for your property.
    They get paid good and fair money for this occupation because of the danger involved and training required. They keep us safe and save lives… how much money is that worth to you? Quit your griping and support them instead. They are getting hit hard with that retroactive decrease all at once… happening in June. Who would like to be there to help them out with that?

    1. It’s retroactive because the UNION delayed and ultimately derailed the negotiations. You got what you deserve.

  13. Then the issue should be why the Union delayed instead of how much Firefighters get paid. Geez.. maybe if we could see a copy of your paychecks it would be great to compare what you all make and how valuable your work is.

    You probably wouldn’t want everyone to know what that is… would you?

    1. Spontaneous Combustion,
      My clients know what I charge the. We are the firefighter’s clients and their pay/compensation is a matter of public record.

    2. The negotiations and delay were all about money. I don’t see how firefighter pay could possibly be more related to the discussion. Makes sense, right?


  15. Firefighters put their lives on the line battling garages and weeds on fire. Try teaching at a high school in inner city LA for half of what fullerton’sfirefighters earn. Trust me, I put my life on the line monday through friday 8am to 3 pm

  16. I heard the Fire Department purchased a POS used ladder truck recently. This as a backup when Truck 1 is down for repairs. Anybody know the details?

    Perhaps more egregious than salaries is the infamous Fire Station No. 6 – you know, the new palace they built on Rosecrans west of Gilbert. Those guys sit on their asses almost all day long!!!

    A lot of times they get dispatched to Buena Park to help OCFA because they’re closer to the call. Unless it’s changed, Station 6 has no paramedics which means Station 4 (on Harbor just south of Hermosa Road) handles all of northwest Fullerton.

    Unlike Station 2 and 3 that get calls for freeway incidents, Station 6 has no freeways nearby, so the scope of their work is limited to car accidents and the occasional grass or house fire, which is few and far between.

    I bet there are days those guys are able to sleep hours on end, maybe the entire shift, with no calls.

    The easiest $100,000 salary of all time!

    1. you my ignorant friend are so mis-informed, the city did purchase a used ladder truck to replace the reserve ladder truck, which was over 30 years old and having mechanical problems. you know nothing about a firefighters day at station 6, your punk-ass would not last 1 hour on the floor. station 6 was built by centex homes, not the city, as part of their development in hawks point. engine 6 handles all calls in there area with a paramedic engine from station 2 or 4, they also cover station 2’s area when hey are on calls or in trainning and do respond on calls on thr 91 and 5 fwys. engine 6 also responds on strike teams during brush fires all over the state and is sometimes gone for day’s at a time. you think they sleep for hours on end everyday without i said i’ll bet your sorry ass would not last 1 hour before you were crying for your mommy, GET YOUR FACTS CORRECT LOSER

  17. Hoser, I’m not the one going around characterizing myself as a hero. So just to be clear, all of those other professionals are not well trained? Good to know. I wasn’t aware. Amazing how some disingenuous firefighters can turn an obvious fact about how market forces do not come into play with their compensation into an assertion of anti-firefighterism. Now there’s a useful new word. I will say this for you, you have possibly the most spectacularly successful union on the face of the earth. Don’t hurt your ears sliding down the pole there Hoser…must be a tight fit.

    Also, to those of you who agree with the general premise of Travis’ post, I really don’t see the value in belittling the occupation and the individuals who are in it. I do appreciate firefighters and I believe Fullerton has some pretty good ones. I just want their pay and benefits to be substantially related to the supply and demand of suitable labor. You can belittle the union until the cows come home. I’d love to know how the firefighters union provides a single benefit to our community.

    1. Wow Chris… I guess since you quite possibly think that comparing the dangerous and highly trained careers of Taxi drivers, Chauffers, Roofers, Trash Collectors and Fisherman deserve pay in alignment with what a Firefighter would make. Maybe you can give one of those Taxi drivers a call when your neighboorhood is on fire or maybe you or a family member is drowning in your backyard pool.

      Geez… I just don’t understand why you think they make too much money. This is Orange County and the cost of living is sky high here. There are plenty of lower career positions in this area that make much more money. You just might be one I bet.

      1. Son, you missed Chris’s point. It isn’t that they make TOO MUCH, it is that from financial tax payer perspective, they are not so sacred that they should be immune to pay fluctuation the same as any other city worker.

        Furthermore, police officers are almost always the first on scene to drownings and first to begin CPR.

  18. The trouble is they rarely fight fires anymore. The job title should be changed. Maybe to something like Emergency Situation Responder (ESR). Then to make it more acurate we could call them ESR/Firehouse Chili Cooks.

  19. “Pay” should be lowered by 15-20% immediately, and pensions should be no greater (as a % of pay) than that of the average Private sector taxpayer ….. which means that their pension formula should be lowered by AT LEAST 50% !

  20. Firewhiner is a GED job, there are 1,000 qualfied applicants for every ONE opening. The jobs are fixed, you’re not getting hire into a firewhiner job unless you’re connected in. In the real world you don’t get $250K with pay, benefits and OT with just a GED or HS diploma.

    Don’t let these mental moron firewhiners like “HOSER” (WHO TYPES LIKE A MORON_bUt I GuEss hE CoUlD TyPE lIKe tHiS) pull the “hero” card-they face little to no danger today, and the job is not even in the top 20 for danger or deaths. They are simply riding the gravy train like the workfare leeches they are, at everyone elses expense.

  21. Spontaneous, your “Geez… I just don’t understand why you think they make too much money.” Clearly demonstrates that you probably either did not take, or were not terribly interested in your high school economics class. Your right, I do think that most of them make “too” much money. It’s just simple supply and demand of labor. If Fullerton were able and had the courage to reduce salaries to whatever they wished, the question would be how low could they make it before firefighters left and the city was unable to find qualified replacements at the lower rate. I don’t know what that number is, but given a couple of years to play out, I would say that it would land at maybe $100K for a veteran firefighter and $60K for a newbie. I might be $10K off one way or the other.

  22. Look at La Habra Heights volunteer fire department. The last time I checked they had a chief and a skeleton crew of full-time staff. The rest were all volunteers who were fire academy grads looking to get experience. Just sayin…

    1. I live in this city which has a larger population than La Habra Heights. I like knowing that we have qualified well trained Full-Time Fire Department Personnel. Experience for what? If you have a skeleton crew and all volunteers where will these fire academy grads work once they gain their experience? Of course that’s if you can get volunteers to work around the clock for free.

      1. Experience so that when all 200 applicants show up for a single opening at Fullerton’s FD, those with experience might have a shot at getting their boot in the door.

        And LHVFD works 24-7. The chief and skeleton crew are there to just make sure that there is continuity between shifts, training, policies, and procedures. East OC has a few VFD in the canyon communities.

        Many academy grads never get into a department. That’s true with police as it is with fire. As Chris mentioned, it is supply and demand with stiff competition for a few jobs.

  23. You wouldn’t have the 200 plus applying for that one position if they did what was mentioned by Chris. Most of these people wouldn’t be considering this a career choice. Again I like having a well trained and full-time Fire Department. I appreciate the work they do 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I have seen it first hand and I know they are good hard working people. I’m very supported of all our city workers who are doing more work with less resources and no support from city leaders and this very negative site towards all public employees, unless your a Friend.

  24. Gilligan, I have no problem supporting the subset of public employees who actually do work hard.

    What I loathe is the unions who use the political system to distort pay structures in their favor and to the detriment of the community. Even worse is their constant abuse of emotional sentiment in opposition to sound fiscal logic.

    The unions have been deliberately deceiving politicians and taxpayers for years. The number crunchers have been saying that all along, but we are just now starting to feel the pain.


  25. This “very negative site towards all public employees” is only true when those employees put their personal economic interest above the fiscal wellbeing of the city they serve. In the private sector you don’t walk in and tell the boss, “What I do is important. Pay me more.” If you did that, you would likely be told “No! Get back to work!” All public employees need to realize that the city is not a limitless source of employee welfare. There is a point, her and now, where agencies are being crushed by the public employee union demands. It is hard to argue that fire and police services are not important – certainly they are. But those who provide those services should be humbled by the oath they took which made no mention of just or reasonable compensation. Like all others affected by the downturn, the FD union needs to put their chin up and move forward. And it isn’t just the public employee unions. Elected representatives and department heads need to be held accountable for their hand in the unreasonable raises and pensions plaguing many cities.

    This site isn’t hateful of the workers except when they throw a fit that they need more money or their existence is so much more important than another’s existence. That selfimportant attitude has got to change.

  26. Hoser a clown that would be FIRED in the real world-he/she would never be able to cut it. Only in the city.county/state government could a low IQ, whiney clown like Hoser exist.

    Hoser, you’re just the kind of workfare employee the government is filled with up to their ears-lazy, stupid and unemployable anywhere else.

    Hoser, I bet you thank you’re lucky stars everyday you were connected into your workfare job.

  27. Having the UNIONS on “YOUR SIDE” when running for election, or re-election, today is POLITICAL CAREER SUICIDE!!

    The Unions are CANCER, they take Elected’s down when one supports the other in a campaign nowadays…

  28. For those of you who need to see a mathematical demonstration of the excessive Public Sector Vs Private Sector pensions, read the following. I put it together a while back re a Policeman, but it’s equally applicable to a Fireman …

    If you “do the math” ….

    The total “value” of benefits at retirement is the present value of all future payments, be they pensions benefits, healthcare premium subsidies, or anything else. Some of these future cash flows are definitively known at the time of retirement (e.g., fixed monthly pensions), and others need to be estimated (e.g., healthcare premiums, the incremental value of future COLA pension increases, etc.). However, all of these future payments can be reasonably estimated (sometimes with several options such as the low, medium, and high liability estimates routinely provided by the Social Security Administration). Once all known and estimated future payments have been determined, they can be discounted to the point of retirement at an assumed interest rate and an assumed mortality rate (for those payments that cease upon death). The interest rate used in this calculation is very important, but actuaries routinely do calculations of this sort and the range of reasonable interest assumptions for this purpose is fairly narrow.

    The present value of all retirement pension and benefit payments can be looked at as the answer to the question ….. How much would an insurance company charge in a single payment at the time of retirement to take on the guaranteed responsibility to make all future payments in lieu of the former employer.

    If we examine two 30-year service, age 55 workers (one Private Sector & one a Policeman or Fireman) making $100,000 in base pay + $20,000 in overtime at retirement, what would these present values be?

    Being somewhat versed in the subject of employee benefits I’ll describe the “likely” pensions & retirement benefits afforded each and then estimate their present values.

    Let’s assume the Private Sector worker is one of the few lucky enough to still have the older traditional-style defined benefit pension plan, and does NOT contribute towards its cost (common practice in Private Sector plans). With 30 years of service and with a typical formula that takes into account wages above and below Social Security “covered compensation”, this worker would likely receive about 40% of final 3-year average pay at normal retirement age, and overtime would NOT be included in benefits-bearing compensation.

    Here’s how the Present value would be calculated …

    Assume $95,000 is the AVERAGE of the last 3 year’s base salary, so 40% x 95,000 = $38,000. But this would be payable only if the employee waited until his plan’s “normal retirement age”. Let’s assume that his plan’s normal retirement age is 60. Since he will start collecting his pension 5 years early, there would be an “actuarial reduction” of 4 to 6% per year (just like Social Security applies when someone starts collecting early at age 62). Let’s assume the yearly reduction is 5%. So … we now have an annual pension of $38,000 x .75 = 28,500.

    Now, to convert this to a “present value” we need to apply a life annuity factor (which incorporates the interest and mortality discounts discussed earlier). For someone retiring at age 55 this “factor” would be a multiplier of about 15. So … the present value of this worker’s pension is $28,500 x 15 = $427,500.

    We will also assume there are no post-retirement healthcare benefits, as such benefits are VERY rare in the Private Sector.

    Now let’s calculate the present value of the Policeman’s pension & benefits.

    The pension formula for the policeman is often 3% of the last year’s salary (including overtime) per year of service and with no “actuarial reduction” for collecting benefits at age 55 (unlike for the private Sector worker). So … we have ($100,000+$20,000)x.03×30 =$108,000. But, we’re not done …

    The policeman’s pension includes a provision for post-retirement COLA increases (while essentially NO Private Sector plans do so). Although this may surprise the reader, the “value” of this added benefit is VERY significant. Even with a modest long-term inflation assumption of 3%/yr, the addition of a COLA benefit for life increases the value of the pension by at least 50%. Hence, the levelized annual pension (with the COLA) is now $108,000×1.5=$162,000.

    Using the same annuity factor of 15 (as used in the Private Sector workup above), we have a present value of 15x$162,000=$2,430,000.

    But wait, we’re still not done (2 more items to adjust for) …

    First, in fairness, the policeman contributes a percentage of his pay toward his pension (unlike the Private Sector worker), and the accumulated value (at interest) of these payments at retirement should be subtracted from the above $2,430,000 for a fair comparison. For this policeman whose final total pay was $120,000, I have calculated the accumulated value at retirement date of his contributions to be roughly $400,000. Hence the present value of this officer’s pension (offset by the accumulated vale of his contributions) is $2,430,000-$400,000=$2,030,000

    Second, this officer gets free or heavily subsidized retiree healthcare for himself AND his family. Since he is not eligible for Medicare until age 65, his healthcare premiums are very expensive and are expected to increase annually at 8-12%, triple the rate of regular (non-medical care) inflation. The present value of this benefit and the post Medicare age healthcare subsidy is roughly $500,000.

    Hence, the present value of this officer’s pension AND retiree healthcare benefit is $2,030,000+$500,000=$2,530,000.

    Now, let compare the present value for these 2 workers making the SAME pay, working for the SAME number of years, and retiring at the SAME age.

    The Private Sector worker’s EMPLOYER-PROVIDED retirement benefits are worth (as a present value on the date of retirement) $427,500.

    The Policeman’s TAXPAYER-PROVIDED retirement benefits are worth (as a present value on the date of retirement) $2,530,000.

    The crisis associated with funding Civil Servant Pensions and benefits is NOT a revenue shortfall issue. It is CLEARLY one of EXCESSIVELY GENEROUS pensions and benefits as the above calculations demonstrate.

    For 2 similarly situated workers (in pay, years of service, and retirement age) the Policeman’s package of retirement benefits costs the TAXPAYERS almost SIX TIMES what the typical Private Sector employer is willing to pay.

    Clearly, if the Private Sector employer provided the same benefits to his workers that the policeman receives, his company would likely go bankrupt in short order.

    These unreasonable benefits have been provided due to a political structure that rewards politicians for “giving-away-the-store” of not their own, but TAXPAYERS’ money, for personal gain. This “gain” may simply be to feed their ego, garner the union support needed to get re-elected, or perhaps worse … for current or future personal financial gain.

    In any event, the current situation is without doubt unsustainable and without MAJOR REDUCTIONS to the benefits provided CURRENT (not just NEW) public employees, towns, cities, and states will be filing bankruptcy with increasing frequency.

    Unfortunately, since difficult change is delayed and delayed and delayed to avoid the confrontation (with very aggressive unions), important public services will suffer tremendously until action is FINALLY taken.

    I’m sure there will be Civil Servants (with vested interest in the status quo) that will say my figures are wrong. Estimates are necessary, and small variations in assumptions will change the figures to a minor degree, but the final relationship is quite accurate …. TAXPAYERS are forced (via their taxes) to pay almost SIX times as much as the Private Sector employer is willing to pay.

    By-the-way … any qualified actuary can verify the reasonableness of my figures and conclusions, …. and I would welcome the actuary who offers to do so ……

    Bye-the-way ……… I didn’t mention it above, but it’s worth a comment …… Civil Servants often take advantage of what’s commonly called “spiking” to unfairly boost one’s pension just before retirement. This takes many forms: large last minute promotions and/or raises, excessive/unusual overtime, cashout of sick and/or vacation days with the payout included in “compensation” for pension calculation purposes, or inclusion in “compensation” of miscellaneous “allowances” (housing, vehicle, parking, uniform, etc.).

    None of this is EVER allowed in Private Sector employer-sponsored plans (employers are spending THEIR OWN money, not TAXPAYER’S, and would never be so foolish). For every $10,000 of “spiking” that works its way into the above Policeman’s “compensation”, it costs the TAXPAYERS an additional $10,000x.03x30x1.5×15=$202,500 !

  29. First Mate: Captain! Captain! The ship is sinking! The ship is sinking!!

    Captain: No it’s not…

  30. Look you stupid firefighters… the taxpayers are looking at increased taxes and reduced services in the middle of a severe recession. They are out for some union blood, and electeds are just starting to notice.

    Every other negotiating group in Fullerton kept their heads low and went along with it.

    But you, the most overpaid union in town, decide to make a stand and stick your neck out in a battle that you could not have possibly won.

    Why the hell would you call attention to yourselves and your big fat compensation packages at a time like this? Idiots.

  31. i would like to see one of these bloggers do the hard job of a firefighter…hey and don’t forget to never call them in case of an emergency, they might take their time on your call.

    Firefighters, Police, and the safety of Fullerton is why I moved my family here…its EXCELLENT.

  32. Wow, FFFF must have struck a nerve with those firefighters. Now they’re threatening to delay response to an emergency. That’s real professional!

  33. ok, everyone who hates the FD (as it’s clear several do)…PLEASE don’t call the fire department when you need to. I challenge you to do that.

    But I know none of you will go along with it. Bitch about the firefighters, the jobs they do, and how much they get paid. But the second you need them, your their biggest fans.

  34. hey firefighters. you talk about putting your lives on the line, true. but until a military service person gets paid more than you, then i will see your point. i support our military not the government decisions. talk about putting their lives on the line. ask the ones that are serving in battle right now.

  35. i am so sick of the emotional arguments (im a hero, put life on line, you need us firemen) being used in response to free market realities i.e. we the taxpayers dont have the money to pay some one 200k a year in salary and benefits when the free market would allow us to get the same benefit for far less. How many returning war vets from the navy with fire training would do the same job just as good if not better for 65k a year and half the pension the present guys get? Alot of them. they would line up. but nonetheless we have to continue to subsidize these above market salaries with our taxes and govt. borrowing which my children will be asked to repay.

  36. Showing the expense per capita would be more informative. Large numbers look impressive, but they’re not the whole story. A history of raises for the fire department as compared to other city departments is also in order. A fuller picture sans dramatic language would be more appropriate. Comparison to similar fire departments would also give a better perspective.

  37. Firefighters don’t consider themselves to be heroes. They are men and women, husbands and wives and veterans who have served in some of the biggest crapholes on this earth and who once again answered the call to duty protecting their communities.

    Some of you “internet loudmouths” have forgotten the fact that these salaries were earned working overtime during fire season when the very people you are dishonoring with your snide comments were on the front lines protecting your homes and rescuing you when you were to stupid to evacuate when told to or activated for USAR operations in earthquake ravaged areas.

    Another newflash.. it isn’t a “GED” job. Many FD’s require college degrees as well as paramedic certifications prior to getting hired.

    When times are booming, you consider public employees to be working for chump change.. when the economy goes south.. suddenly you state that they are underworked and overpaid…

    What a bunch of hypocrits ….

  38. you said “many” and “isn”t” but yes you can become a firefighter with a GED and no college background. yes you can. think before you speak.

  39. Three things that the Council woman did not mention.

    1) Fire fighters work a 53 hour week, while the average work works a 40 hour work week. Fire fighters see their co-workers more than their spouse and kids, when you consider they have to spend 10+ days pre month at the station.

    2) Fire fighters, under Federal Law, do not qualify for social security. They do not pay into the system so their contribution’s into the retirement system are ruffly the same, about 8-9.5%
    depending on the department.

    3) Over time is only there because the department will not hire sufficient numbers. They find it cheaper to work current staff over time rather than have an employee that they have to match benefits.

    You want to crunch numbers? Go to your State Department of Insurance and ask how much residents and businesses of Fullerton paid in insurance premiums last year. Then ask them what percent would the insurance drop if the fire department improved it’s rating. You would be shocked. I know where I live it drops by State Law 9% for every point of improvement the department achieves. If the residents paid $100 million in premiums, then the rates would drop by $9 million a year by the department improving it’s rating. Transversely if they were to loose a point, say drop from a Class 3 to a Class 4, it would cost a 9% increase in premiums. In the above example it would cost $9 million. That is why the department has to maintain a certain manpower level at all times.
    The fire department is the only department, at any level of government, that can directly save the citizens money by being top notch.

    1. You claim they see their co-works more often then their family based on 10+ days per month? where are they the rest of the days.

      Also if the hours working were actually 53 hours working they wouldn’t have other jobs.

      It’s not the department it’s the union.

  40. I can not believe the hatred for you firefighters. Does anyone realize that firefighters have a significantly lower lifespan then the population in general? When was the last time one of you got to work in the morning and wasn’t allowed to take a break for hours because of workload. When a businessman “works through lunch” it is a choice. As a firefighter I have sat down to lunch at 9 PM. I have seen the sun set and rise from the cab of an ambulance and firetruck, then I went home and cared for my children all day till my wife gets home and I can get a little rest in.
    I do it because I love my job. I’m a supervisor and when not running calls or helping with the day to day work I’m in my office, figuring out staffing, working on other office work, developing instructional material for training. I don’t sit in the chairs and sleep.
    In the past Chicago firemen statistically lived an average of 3 to 5 years after retirement…Then DIED. So is that pension so outrageous now? For 30+ years they keep the public safe, and unlike you never enjoy retirement. Firefighters are compensated to a level that the cities can afford, and it should be higher. As a public employee I know I’ll never be rich, but I enjoy what I do. BTW I have a Bachelor am a Paramedic, firefighter, HazMat tech, USAR trained and a public safety diver. Far beyond a GED. I go to school continuously to stay up on my skills and knowledge.
    The fire and police department must ALWAYS be funded and can never be cut. When someone calls 911 we’ll be there.

  41. David,
    I don’t see hatred for firefighters here as much as I see a strong concern over our city’s fiscal solvency. I am reading several posts that cause me to think that the firefighters and their wives/family members who have posted here do not understand the point of this thread (and perhaps visa versa): Firefighters are paid very well when compared with other city services, which most will agree is a reasonable premise. However, most tax payers, me included, did not have a grasp on just what their compensation looked like until Travis posted this.

    That said, firefighters (and police officers) should be well paid, as should all of the employees who have jobs requiring specialized training and are on call 24-7. But “well paid” is subjective. Comparing one fired department against another’s compensation does nothing except create envy and fuel the flames fiscal irresponsibility that brought us to this point. And, even with this latest pay cut they still are doing well. In fact, I think all of the departments have done their share to cut payroll costs and have done so in a fair and equitable manner. It sucks to get your wages cut, no matter how seemingly important or unimportant your job is, but do in large part to poor planning, that’s where we are. The one question that ALL city employees should be asking though is “will it be enough?” According to the proposed budget, no.

  42. what about the families that they leave behind after passing away at a younger age than the life span? Do they not deserve a good life too?

  43. “On average, there are over 100 candidates who apply for each opening.”

    “The truth is that we are looking for someone who will fit into our family.”

    “Another way to gain knowledge and experience in the fire service is to become a volunteer or reserve firefighter.”

    “Candidates often volunteer for departmental activities. These activities include departmental BBQ’s, CPR training events for the community and any other opportunities that may arise to give a candidate a chance to be visible to the members of the department. As you are flipping burgers, it is entirely possible that a captain, battalion chief or even the fire chief will stop you and introduce him or herself. This is your opportunity meet influential people on the department. Once the introductions are made, the conversation often steers toward what you are doing. This is your opportunity to explain that it is your goal to become a member of the department.”

    Only in the twisted world of the sacred cow known as fire service might one find these statement. So, professional networking for a firefighter includes flipping burgers??? Are you kidding me? I suppose there is some nexus between the BBQ fire and fire fighting…but that’s a stretch. Professional networking means continuing education, joining and being involved with professional societies, and profession-related civic events.

    “This leaves the bulk of the score (oftentimes 100%) for the oral interview. Since we are looking to hire people we like and want to have as part of our family, it is imperative that the oral board knows who you are before you walk in the door.”

    So, it really is all about who you know.

    “It is important to note that you are establishing your reputation the minute you walk into the fire station. If you make a favorable impression, the firefighters will help you and maybe even pass positive information to the oral board. The same thing can be said if you make a poor showing.”

    Wow, this chief is willing to admit that some recruits receive insider information giving the anointed a distinct advantage.

    “The fire service is a unique occupation. There is no matrix to follow to ensure you will be offered a position. It’s actually the opposite. A candidate can have all of the horsepower known to mankind and still not be offered a position, while a candidate who has never taken a single class is offered a job on his or her first examination. To an outsider it may be quite perplexing. To an insider we all understand it is about being the person we all want to have on our crew. It really is not that complicated.”

    And this is golden. The chief admits that getting hired as a firefighter is a popularity contest, not a qualifications based selection. That means taxpayers pay for firefighters to recruit for their good ol’ boy club. That is a serious and significant flaw in the system of public employment!

    1. In reality, the progression of most departments’ hiring processes is leaning more towards meeting a set of requirements before any favor is given to ones popularity. After six years of testing, I have finally been offered a job with a local department and I am very excited. It took accomplishing a technical Associates degree, a Bachelors’ degree in Administration, thousands of hours of physical conditioning and a slew of certifications paid for out of my own pocket to raise any eyebrows. True, the department wants to be sure you are a good fit with the guys you will be spending at least 2,880 hours with every year, personality-wise, but qualifications are now the standard.
      I do want to put in my own two cents about why it is I chose to pursue a career in the fire service over other options, since I do come from a background of relative privilege and opportunity. I chose the fire service to do just that, serve my community…not to get wealthy. While this is a textbook answer, it could not be any truer for me. That being said, I do not believe it is a fair answer to the argument at hand, that it is because I chose to sacrifice for my community, that I deserve inflated compensation. The word “sacrifice” inherently means that I am willing to give something of myself without expectation of return. I do know, though, that my starting pay will be $14 an hour, some hours of which will be spent doing incredibly difficult and dangerous labor, others spent around the station doing any number of other things, including resting. What I want to be sure of, however, is that I am doing whatever I can do to better myself to serve my community during that time. In other words, I really hope that I will be doing everything in my power to earn the trust and compensation that my community gives me to do my job. I hope to live a long time after I retire for my family’s sake and, like anyone else here, I hope that my family will be provided for when I am gone. The generous pension I know I will receive (and my wife at 50%) will be very much appreciated and I am very thankful for it. I admit that I am a naive recruit, but I do want to say that in my experience, the guys I know in the fire service are grateful as well.
      I also know very well, as a tax-paying member of the private sector, how frustrating it can be to see how irresponsibly the systems currently in place are handled, including the one I am about to be a part of. I hope to play some roll later in my career in trying to find appropriate and lasting solutions to the current shortcomings in the systems. I do want to take personal responsibility as well in making sure that my family is cared for when I am gone outside the system and one way that is accomplished is through contributing to a retirement plan in addition to the 8% I am required to contribute to my pension (the city will contribute another 12%). In a country much too trusting of systems like Social Security and state pensions, personal responsibility will be ever more important. I hope to humbly educate my fellow firefighters to consider this as well. There is no argument that in a system where 20% of one’s gross salary is contributed to a retirement fund, that if invested wisely, it should yield a considerable chunk of change in retirement…the key word here being, “should”. It goes without saying there is a problem. I do not deny it. There should be no reason why there should be shortcomings that tax payers should have to cover in addition to all they have already.
      Obviously this has raised much passion in both directions. It is my hope that as members of a community as well as individuals who should bear responsibility for ourselves, we would come together to figure out what is right for all.
      Firefighters are trained to be just that, firefighters. I have a desire to serve, in my own capacity, the community I am fortunate enough to belong to. I also want to humbly say, from the perspective of a person about to join the ranks of people with a very specific skill-set, that I (we) am (are) going to need your help in capacities that I am not trained in just as you may someday need my help in capacities that you are not trained in, to help better manage the systems. There are obviously a number of contributors to this thread with great capacity for financial and economic ideas that can help. I challenge myself to be as mindful as I can be of my responsibility to be a good steward of what the citizens entrust to me. I challenge you to contribute your skills to help the situation. If abuse of the system is happening, and obviously it is, that certainly has to be dealt with. But, let criticism be also accompanied by workable solutions. If you have an idea, please share it and be hell-bent on getting that idea through to the right people rather than attacking on a computer screen. As for myself and my future brothers and sisters, I hope that we can have an open mind and not be so defensive in a time in our country that is difficult for so many. I know that the primary reason it has taken me so long to get on a department is the economy. I am humbled that I finally have the opportunity to serve. I do want my family to be cared for monetarily and I know that I need to be willing to get creative as to how that will happen in these difficult times. But it will also be on the shoulders of the community I serve to help figure out how that is done. We are individuals who should be responsible for our own well-being…I get that. But, as members of a community, it is also part of our personal responsibility that we commit to solving community problems like adequately funding personal safety…I am willing and ready to work to figure out how to do that responsibly. Are you?

      1. Good post.

        Will you love your job this much if you had to work 5 days a week, 8 hours a day and weren’t paid to sleep for half of your shift?

        That’s the big question. I think that job would be less attractive and many would leave that job of not for that part of it.

        I think the hours would change right now but politicians are too scared to mess with the fire unions.

        1. Right now, again, as an excited and passionate recruit, my answer to your question is yes, I would still love my job even if it were only a typical 40 hour work week. In fact, my wife is expecting our first child and it would certainly make life less complicated if I were home every night as well as every weekend. Working a 40 hour week, however, would mean the time spent doing a job which requires a tremendous amount of training and skill, at least in large municipalities, would need to be compensated fairly as well, since those hours would be filled with more actual work than rest (in theory).
          Right now, working for a large corporation, I make far more than $14 per hour doing a job with far less potential risk and which requires far less training, educationally and physically, than will my job as a firefighter. Not to say that I do not put in much effort in my current position…I do. But, I think there may be misconceptions as to what is expected of a firefighter to know and to be trained in these days. A firefighter is no longer simply a laborer, but, at least in my municipality, an educated and highly skilled professional.
          Let me go back to the point made in an earlier post about there being incredible competition for a single position in the fire department. Because of the competition level, many larger departments aren’t even considering candidates unless they are paramedics, have college degrees and many other certifications…not just because they can afford to be picky, but because the training is necessary, these days, for firefighters to have. They also know that if a candidate does not already have the training, they are likely going to have to pay for it out of their budget. The required training to do everything that a firefighter in a large department is expected to do has taken me years to accomplish. It would have been a much better investment for me to have finished my philosophy/business double major and move on to law school as was the original plan, than for me to decide to make a move to become a firefighter. All this to say that $14 an hour at 40 hours a week/$29,120 a year would probably not be seen as acceptable. Firefighters do not simply put the wet stuff on the hot stuff anymore. The job has become more complex as the community served expects higher levels of medical training and lower response times and greater capability of handling larger-scale potential catastrophes like 9/11 and 4/19/95 in OKC…situations that require incident management and logistics education. More complicated times have called for a more well-rounded and highly trained firefighter. While this may not be true in a smaller municipality, it most definitely is in a large one.
          I knew that the career I wanted was one with a larger department so that I could have a greater challenge while on shift. Along with greater challenge comes the need for additional training and, frankly, a more intelligent and informed firefighter. To expect this type of person to choose the fire service over a more lucrative career where his/her talents are more greatly rewarded is a bit naive, that is unless one expects that every single person that chooses the fire service goes into it with a sacrificial/missional-type mindset. That is simply not a realistic expectation.
          It is my hope that every firefighter go into (and continue) the profession because they feel it is what they are supposed to do – a calling of sorts – over the mindset that says, “I can’t wait to get paid to sit in a lazy-boy”, regardless of how busy or not or well-trained or not their department/municipality requires of them. I know that is probably a pipe dream. But, I also hope that because of a few bad apples, the whole basket is not spoiled.
          I am willing to shed a perceived attitude of entitlement and accept the reality that times are hard and fair change needs to be made. The only thing I ask is that false misconceptions of who a firefighter is and what they are expected to know and do when the bell rings for a call, be it a fire, car wreck, Haz-Mat situation, medical emergency, national incident, collapse or one of the many, many other things they are required to be trained/educated (and continue training) to do.
          As for the defensive backlashes from firefighters and their friends and families in this string, know that you probably aren’t doing us any favors by being so combative. No matter how harsh the words can get towards the fire service, as community servants, it is important to keep a level head and logically make a case for compensation, shift scheduling or whatever else may come under scrutiny, based on what is reasonable, to adequately support our families, professionalism, education and dignity. People want to know what their money is going to, since, as members of indirect democracy, they do not necessarily get to make those decisions themselves. Truly, truly our compensation cannot be directly linked to any kind of risk we take on the job. If it were, we should all be millionaires. We should have higher self-esteem than that. The roots of the profession, that have been passed on to me from amazing, upstanding and courageous firefighters before me are those of sacrifice and service. We should certainly be able to live well, off the job, and take care of our families, but we also need to remember that we live in a place founded on ideals of freedom, economically and personally, and we should not be so quick to dismiss that we should be accountable to this same system. As for me, there are too many wonderful things in this blessed nation that I love that are the way they are because of the freedoms we have as citizens – to keep in check the public services provided us. We need to protect our own, but we cannot do so at the expense of polarizing and isolating ourselves from the rest of our country, especially in such trying times. We have to be strong together. If either “side” gets too selfish or unrealistic or out of check, we run the risk of losing too much. I cannot sacrifice my dignity in my profession by shaming others into submission. I hope to reasonably justify what I receive based on what is logically acceptable as an educated professional and accept, without blame, that when times get hard as they are now, I are willing to get creative and remain one with the community I serve and keep my honor and integrity intact.
          But, I am only a green and naïve recruit, right? But, just as I hope I keep the respect of my community, I hope I never lose that which earns that respect. Call me naïve, but I feel like the community will continue to take care of me as a firefighter so long as I prove that I earn that respect through my qualifications, my hard work, my sacrifice and my open mind.

  44. We all know that this blog is a Shawn Nelson political scam, and yes Shawn you are a LIAR !!! you took thousands of dollars from police and Fire Departments for your election to council!!!! remember???? and you are using a picture that has Police and Fire personnel in your flyers stating that you are a supporter of Police and Fire…and you have publicly stated you are against public safety and wages and retirement!!!! why don’t you tell everyone that you accepted 40K in union support, and now you are against them!!! you are true to your profession a Lawyer…I mean a LIAR….and we all know you wanted to work in public safety…but physically couldn’t do it!!!! good luck in your scam election LIAR…

  45. CSD, I’m pretty sure you’re telling us that your union donated to Nelson years ago because you wanted the favor returned in the form of pension and salary spikes. At our expense.

    When he didn’t give you the “favor” that you thought you were entitled to, you call him a lair?

    No principles. Only self-interest. Disgusting.

    1. I am not a FF i am a business owner, and all the Firefighters want is to be treated fairly, As far as their compensation, they put their lives on the line every day!! and the Police and Firefighters recently are taking a 5% pay reduction..and the Firefighters are paying 26% per check for the next two months some of them are giving back $1,400 per check,,, no other city is requiring this, and the city has lied about secret coffers with millions on money in multiple accounts.. now lets not bang to hard on police and Firefighters!!!!

      1. You actually think there are “secret coffers with millions in multiple accounts”????? Are you serious???

        Fullerton is in dire straights. The generous pensions that past councils have voted for are benefits for a few at the detriment of all. Taxpayers cannot sustain the retirement cost cycle at this pace.

        Historically, public employees have enjoyed job security and good retirement benefits while sacrificing high salaries. Private sector workers receive higher salaries but they must also contribute to their own retirement plans.

      2. I want them to be treated fairly too. So fair to me would be paying them the median wage and a 401k like everyone else. Right now if one of those firefighters quit we used to be able to hire 2 to replace them now we can’t even afford 1.

  46. I guess this answers the question of whether campaign contributors expect quid pro quo, in case there was still a question.

  47. I just realized that “CSD” is the same commenter who wished we would have heart attacks and that the fire department would let our houses burn down. No point in arguing with someone so twisted.

    1. I see CSD is a strong Police and Firefighter supporter. Howerver, he or she has made some valid points, i think we all are somewhat supporters of public safety, and we all appreciate the work they do and I dont agree with the comment about the city is in dire straights, look at the funds that were moved for capital improvements, the new 12 million for the new sports complex on Lemon and Brea Blvd…that money came from the General operating fund category 2 funds…. then shifted as capital improvement.

  48. Ya I see your point, I am just jealous I could’nt become a Firefighter, now I just like putting them down…sorry

    1. The above comment was made by “CSD” who previously wished that our houses would burn down and obviously doesn’t realize that we can tell when he switches names.

    1. This coming from someone who spouts nothing but nonsense.

      Good to know I’m in your head and swimming around.

      I can assure you I don’t give you two thoughts when I’m not responding to the idiots who post their idiocy disguised as political insight.

  49. Poor little joey.

    Let’s all the world see that he is envious of those who achieved success that escaped him.

    His solution is that others should settle for the mediocrity that exemplifies his existence.

  50. I have read one too many drivels from this SD Observer to let another one go by without commenting on his delusional and inane statements.

    Mr. 4SDO, you have used the correct expression when you state “settle for the mediocrity that exemplifies his existence.” This phrase perfectly describes public employees. Without a profit motive even the best intentioned public employee eventually devolves into mediocrity. No matter how hard one works or how good he/she is, eventually they too will become like all long term public employees, C minus at best.

    As for public safety personnel, they are the most delusional of all public employees. For them, they can never be paid enough. Well you know something, your gravy train is over. On the morning of September 15, 2008, when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, and set off the Panic of ’08, everything changed. Also, remember something known as the bursting of the housing bubble? You probably don’t because you think your neighborhood is special (like you and your kind) and that home values in your neighborhood haven’t really gone down, and in fact have risen.

    Believe it or not, things have changed for public employees, including public safety personnel. It is just taking a little longer to hit public employment, but as you can see we slaves (i.e. the taxpayers) are in revolt against our masters (i.e. public employees) and the result is going to be ugly for public employees.

    I think that we should take up a collection to erect a 200 foot high (as high as the Statue of Liberty) of Robert Rizzo, and place it on a 100 foot pedestal, then place them in the center of Capitol Park in Sacramento (behind the State Capitol Building). Eleven weeks ago this coming Friday, when the LA Times broke the City of Bell story that was the game changer.

    Years from now, think pieces will be written about the successful taxpayer revolt (think June 6, 1978) that brought public employment compensation, benefits and pensions under control and how the Robert Rizzo’s raping of Bell started it all. Thanks again, Mr. Rizzo, hope your are enjoying the food.

    Viva La Revolucion

    1. Achievers are always criticized by mediocre folks such as yourself.

      Nice rant.

      Here’s hoping your life works out for the better.

      1. Please tell us what you have ever achieved, and how you have risen above mediocrity.

        Hell, you can even write well.

  51. Well, Travis…why argue with someone as twisted as you are (since you hate the police and apparently, fire).

    Speaking of Travis. How long have you been in Fullerton, Travis? Someone told me you’ve only been here 6 years. I mean, if Roland Chi’s 3 years aren’t enough, is your 6 years enough?

    I’m just looking for the mighty Bushala Sanctioned Time Frame before someone can comment or run for office. Then again, looking for integrity, or consistency from Bushala is like trying to get an honest answer out of Shawn Nelson.

    Just kidding, it’s not THAT bad…but close.

    1. That’s “Supervisor Shawn Nelson” to you.

      Oh, how that burns! And get ready for “Supervisor Re-elect Shawn Nelson.”

      Your boy Sidhu will still be dancing for nickels in front of the Santa Ana Zoo monkey house when Nelson is sworn in (again).

    2. I was born in Fullerton, but that’s not really relevant since I’m not running for office.

      And thanks for checking up on me.

  52. Well 4SDO and Joe S.,
    I managed to read the June 5, 2005, issue of Time Magazine, with the cover story titled, “America’s Houseparty” and figured out that it was time to sell my 6,000 square foot home on a hill top in Silicon Valley. So, I sold it in February 2006, and placed the dough in conservative investment insturments. Guess I did something right. Additionally, once Bear Stearns declared bankruptcy in February 2008, I figured it was time to move my wife’s and my substantial 401k’s into conservative investments. Even purchased some GOLD.

    If you doubt the fact that September 15, 2008, changed America, actually the world, forever then you need to be reminded that the next day September 16, AIG was going down but the Feds decided to bail them out (while at the same time allowing Lehman Bros. to go down). You may also remember that it was during this time the the Feds had to nationalize FannyMae and FreddyMac that together held 50% of America’s mortgages. Merrill Lynch had to be taken over by B of A, Washington Mutual went kaput.

    All-in-all boys, in the Fall of ’08, the world was on the brink of Global Depression II. Miracuously, the planet survived it. Unfortunatetly, we (public employees too) are all going to be suffering for a longtime. So, I would not be congratulating yourselves quite yet on how brilliant you were to become public employees. Man, the fundamental of economics and the Rules of the Universe are a bitch, huh (e.g. there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, as in no doc/income stated 105% home loans) ?

    Continue to drink the Kool Aid about how untouchable public employee compensation, benefits ( lots of time off, Rolls Royce health insurance plans, etc.) and pensions are. You will find out soon enough that they aren’t. I recommend to both of you that you fasten your seat belts, boys, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Enjoy it, because we are coming after you. (Take note of the high horse the press-private sector workers-has gotten on regarding this issue. They ain’t letting it drop until you public sector types are suffering just like them).

    1. Are you another one of the morons who actually buy into this drivel?

      First off. I’m not a public employee. If you weren’t a complete idiot you would know that. I used to be. I’m retired military. I work in the private sector for a company that has a defined benefit program. Should military personnel be denied their pensions or have them taken away? There is no trust fund so all of them are in essence unfunded liabilities.

      I agree we will be suffering for a long time as a result of this recession.

      As far as coming after me, what do you mean by that statement? Is that a personal threat?

      Amazing how you believe that since those who had not cause in causing the Global Depression should also suffer. Yet you regard them as second rate citizens during good times. Reminds me of the poem Tommy by Rudyard Kipling I was forced to read during my college days. Little did I know that mindset would be alive and well during my career while serving my country.

  53. Well SDO, congratulations for never losing the public employee mindset after all these years. I am certain it has served you and your unfortunate private sector employer well. As for coming after you, well we are coming after your mindset. At least you appear to understand the current economic situation the country is in and its likely impact on those poor public employees. Such as, the money runs out to pay their bloated pensions, and as part of the Revolution, taxpayers refuse to vote for increase taxes to cover them. In addition to that, new car sales will continue to be down and home values will continue to decline resulting in even less revenue for public agencies. Boy, this is going to be interesting to watch unfold.

    Then there is the gift that keeps on giving. Today’s LA Times reports the Mr. Rizzo gamed the public pension system so that he and 40 other Bell employees will receive even higher pensions that originally thought. Mr. Rizzo supercharged his pension so that he would receive close to ONE MILLION DOLLARS a year upon retirement. You see Mr. 4SDO, if so many public employees across the state had not gamed the system and if the state legislature and local public agency governing bodies had not increased public over the last dozen years, and get this, made them retroactive, then maybe your heros-public employees-just might have been able to receive their nice pensions for the next 30 to 35 years. Instead they are all left wondering what the heck is going to happen to them when the well runs dry and the taxpayers refuse to raise taxes to bail them out.

    As to your reference about the public employees who did not cause this economic mess having to suffer; please spare me. All of us, yes, each and every one of us (you and me included) contributed to this economic disaster by spending like their was no tomorrow. You think public employees did not borrow to buy monster SUV’s, McMansions, go on weekly $300 trips to COSTCO, order up $200 monthly cable/satelite tv plans to go with their 50 inch plasma/lcd televisions, have $250 a month cell phone plans to cover the entire family, and pay for it all (or most of it) with plastic or using their home as an ATM machine? As I said, spare us all the talk of the poor public employee who will have to suffer because of what the Masters of the Universe made us all do (spend the world’s money). There are no guiltless Americans in this scenario.

    You see, Mr. former public employee, when have a discussion with me, you had better bring your “A” Game and not your still public employee mindset C minus game.

    1. You once again show your mediocre thought process. You point to the city of Bell and hold it up as an indicator of all public servants.

      That would be like me pointing to Enron and saying all corporate entities operate as Ponzi schemes.

      Yes, my public servant mindset served me well. Being in an organization that stressed logic and organization. An organization that set substantive goals and devised ways to achieve them. An organization that realized the team is more important and stronger than any one individual.

      Character traits you obviously lack. As far as my employer is concerned. He doesn’t feel my presence is unfortunate. I keep getting raises.

      Sorry to hear your life sucks. It might be because you spend time blogging and whining about the achievements of others. Achievers achieve success irrespective of the success of others. They don’t care about what others are getting.

      I hope you are young enough to change your mindset and be one of those who actually does something with his life instead of whining about others. That is what the bloggers on this board have become. They whine about others and take credit for things that have nothing to do with their actions. Then they throw down a hypothetical as proof. Clearly the sign of an individual who lacks critical thinking skiills.

    2. And Howard. Do you believe my being a former public employee who served in the military makes me a lesser individual?

      I’m not sure how you mean that.

      Could you explain that remark?

  54. 4SDO:
    Obviously, it’s been a long, long time since your college days because you have forgotten about symbolism. Yes, that’s right 4SDO, the point about Bell is in its symbolism. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how the whole Bell situation plays itself out. What Bell represents is symbolic of the entire public employment mess with all of its excesses. The gaming of the system to artificially increase one’s last year compensation (tacking on unused sick leave, vacation time, etc.) is but one more example of the horrid system public sector compensation has become.

    I recently came across a review of a book on Lehman Bros., and the reviewer had this to say: “The sad story of Lehman Bros. reflects a financial system that grew fat on fraud, lies and accounting gimmicks, corruption and incompetence.” After reading that I thought to myself, “Wow, that also describes public employment compensation and benefits.”

    You attack my points in a general manner by merely stating I lack your superior analytic skills, but you fail to raise specific arguments to counter the specific points I’ve made, such as the fact that public employees played a part in our economic downturn like everyone else.

    As for the whining, call it whatever you little heart desires. The point of all this is that people like me are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it any more. In case you haven’t figured it out, we’re fomenting revolution against public employment compensation. With the help of the City of Bell’s excesses (symbolism, get it? I am certain D Day is coming.

    So, if it makes you feel better to call us morons, then have at it. If it makes you feel wonderful to think that those of us with this point of view are miserable people with miserable lives, then fine. But the bottom line is this, we and the press are not stopping until the fixes starting happening, and we are not talking about these impuissant two-tier systems. Also, keep in mind that 90% of the working force is in the private sector and we greatly out number the 10% in the public sector. We, the current servants and slaves of the public sector, shall overcome.

    1. I do understand symbollism. It’s why I used the Enron example to show the idiocy of your comparison of using Bell as an indicator of all.

      As far as two tiers are concerned. Lehman Bros. is a great example. There was one tier for the execs who drove the company off a cliff, and another tier for the working folks who lost their jobs because of their greed.

      I do know that 90% is in the private sector. When they go back to working and making a lot of money like they did before 2008, they won’t care about how much civil servants are paid.

      Read the poem Tommy. You’ll understand what it’s like to be in the miliary during peacetime.

  55. Well, 4SDO,
    Looks like you are running out of steam. “I do know that 90% is in the private sector. When they go back to working and making a lot of money like they did before 2008, they won’t care about how public employees are paid.”
    You are just like the National Association of Realtors and your typical home seller, delusional.

    This is what U.S. News & World Report printed on September 15, 2008: “Coverage of the latest crisis in the US financial system casts the situation in dire terms, presenting the demise of Lehman Brothers as a potential harbinger of future collapses. The Washington Post reports this morning, ‘Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy early Monday morning, becoming the largest financial firm to fail in the global credit crises, after federal officials refused to help other companies buy the venerable investment bank by putting up taxpayer money as guarantee. The Wall Street Journal reports, ‘the American financial system was shaken to its core on Sunday, and a sense of foreboding gripped Wall Street, while the New York Times titles one of its stories on the crisis, ‘Nation’s Financial Industry Gripped By Fear, and the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial, ‘We are getting a Category 5 test of our financial levees.’ Liberal columnist Paul Krugman asks in the New York Times, ‘Will the US financial system collapse today, or maybe the next few days? I don’t think so–but I’m nowhere near certain.'”

    So 4SDO, as I alluded to in one of my previous posts, America changed on that Monday morning 9/15/08. On that day the hand of the Lord (or whomever) pushed the giant reset bottom in the sky regarding the US ecomony. The reason we can’t seem to find a bottom after more that 2 years since then (and almost 3 years since the advent of the Great Recession) is that the country is trying to find its real economic level. You know, a true level based on a country’s rate of production, the savings rate of its citizens, the amount of government deficits, etc. This is why unemployment is still in double digits, this is why poll after poll show consumer confidence at all time lows. Remember Japan? They have come to call 1990-2010, the lost generation.

    America, because of our past glutinous ways is getting its comeuppance (sad to say). Thus, your feeble observation that when the private sector goes back to work they won’t care much about how much public employees are paid, is a naive and plain laughable statement. We, hopefully, will avert a depression, but the go go days of the late 90’s (internet/high tech stock boom) and the first half decade of this century (housing boom) are gone. Things will not be the same. What all this means is that the private sector is not, will not, forget about the excessive pay and benefits of the public sector. I know I asked you to bring your “A” game to this discussion, but it obvious to me the best ya got is C minus, and of course the use of such words as “moron” and “idiocry.” Frankly, your so-called success working in the private sector tells me that you probably work for some government contractor. I tire of your mediocrity. But I don’t tire of continuing to foment rebellion and revolution amoung the populace.

    1. Running out of steam? How do you figure? Yet another moron statement coming from you. Do you have an infinite supply of these? It seems so.

      You think this is the first time our country has been in recession? You must not be that old. As such it isn’t much use discussing the issue any longer.

      You need to read up on Japan’s Lost Generation. Your using it as an analogy to our current situation is almost a non-sequituir.

      You end your argument based upon a hypothetical that only entertains your parochial mindset. There are opportunities out there, even in this economy. Though you won’t find them since you waste your time writing idiot posts with a fellow group of moron undersachievers.

        1. Joe,

          Please go the nearest ER ASAP. You have now responded with that line twice to a comment that is completely unrelated.

          This is a sign and symptom of major brain trauma.

          Please go immediately before your brain damage is irreversible.

  56. To 4SDO:
    Tsk, tsk. Although the use of words such as moron (which seems to be your favorite) and idiot are appropriate when used correctly, you see to utilize them as a substitute for thought and analysis; the sure sign of someone who has run out of gas and relevant, cogent things to say. But hey, you have that public employee mind set, so what did I really expect from you?

    Apparently, you are not too well versed in the economic history of your own country, otherwise you would know that the Greal Recession is the worst recession since the country came of the Great Depression almost 70 years ago. Maybe you should study up on history before you continue making your factuous comments suggesting in the last 70 years we’ve experienced a recession to equal this one.

    If you have the stomach and intellect for it, I highly commend the attached recent article in the New York Times explaining why the ecomonic slump continues. Read it and understand why the economy is not coming back any time soon and therefore, why private sector employees and not going to forget how the public sector sucker punched.

    1. Blah blah blah.

      The recovery (albeit slow) is underway. It would take someone who isn’t as intellectually lazy as yourself to understand that.

      I haven’t run out of gas, it is you and your fellow morons who continually make one stupid unsubstantiated claim after another that are losing ground.

      Run along and try and do something useful with your life besides blogging.

      I didn’t say it wasn’t the most serious recession in 70 years. I said it wasn’t the first one. Try reading what I wrote, not what you thought I wrote.

      One of the many reasons I feel comfortable calling you and your ilk morons. You provide the proof with each post.

  57. 4SDO,
    no need in getting so frustrated just because you have a vocabulary of an elementary school child (“stupid”, your all time favorite one “morons”). Rather than read the article I posted for you to read you have chosen to merely state, “The recovery (albeit slow) is underway. It would take someone who isn’t as intellectually lazy as yourself to understand that.”

    From you, we never get analysis, merely conclusionary statements. I know why you call me a moron and someone who just makes stupid unsubstantiated claims, because you haven’t the intellectual goods to say anything else.

    So, continue to feel superior and above it all because we are morons who just make stupid comments. But you know something, you do understand you lack the intellect to keep up.

    1. Not frustrated. More like amused. I know you’re easily confused. That’s typical of morons like yourself and others on these boards.

      You claim I never submit analysis. Were you talking to yourself. You and your idiot buddies never submit anything substantive. You submit conjecture and hypotheticals as some sort of fact.

      That is typical of losers who whine about the success of others.

  58. You know something, 4SDO, I have somewhat changed my opinion of you. I am impressed by your tenacity, your bullheadedness and especially by your complete and utter failure to engage in self-analysis. While I haven’t changed my opinion of your intellectual capacity- C minus-, for your tenaciousness, I give you a C plus. Nice going, probably the highest grade you’ve ever received.

    1. That’s why I said it’s like grabbing hold of tar baby, and to which I can only respond: I am hero and deserve.

  59. 4SDO,
    Darlink, where are you? I miss you already. I love the way you call me and my ilk morons, and explain to us how worthless our lives are because we have never accomplished anything. Please, oh please come back. As Kevin Bacon’s character said in Animal House, “Thank you sir, may I have another?”

    I don’t think I will be able to go on living with out you telling me how intellectually lazy I am and how I make such stupid unsubstantiated claims. Okay, I admit it. My life is worthless because I disagree with you. Now are you happy? Please, oh please come back and tell me how moronic I am. “Thank you sir, may I have another?”

  60. 4SDO,
    What about if I get Joe S. to push for a State Constitutional Amendment for the 2012 election changing public safety employees’ pensions to 4% at 40? Will you come back to tell us how stupid and moronic we are. Oh great 4SDO please, por favor, come back online and tell us how worthless and empty are lives are and how we have never accomplished anything.

    1. Hey Howard, you’re basing an argument on a hypothetical only substantiates why your positions are stupid and moronic.

      You’re not very bright, are you? Because it has become obvious (like the rest of these bloggers) that you lack any real critical thinking skills. When the fallacies in your arguments are exposed you resort to personal attacks. I initially tried discussing in a rational manner only to be accused of all sorts of incorrect claims. That’s when it became obvious to me I was dealing with morons and idiots. None of which has been proven incorrect.

      As far as your lives being worthless and empty. That’s obvious. All of you spend so much time on a blog please detail what it is exactly you are accomplishing of any value. Hint: This isn’t it.

      1. Howard, a prime example is your buddy Joe S. He’s been reduced to a blithering idiot who just spouts the same thing over and over.

        Signs of a severe head trauma or perhaps being denied oxygen at birth.

        Maybe you know him, you’d be a better judge.

      2. You spend a lot of your life arguing with idiots and morons, don’t you? Ah, the sad lot of the propagandist.

        To which I can only say: I am hero and deserve.

        1. No. I spend a lot of time playing with idiots and morons such as yourself.

          What other purpose do you serve other than being the playthings of others?

          You continue to prove my point by blabbering a nonsensical that is completely irrelevant to the conversation.

          I appreciate you’re continuing to make my point for me.

  61. Ah yes, 4DSO, I knew you wouldn’t disappointment me and Joe. Calling us “stupid”, “moronic” “idiots”, accusing us of engaging in personal attacks, man that feels great. Thank you sir, may I have another?

    By the way, you didn’t let me and Joe know what you think of our idea of increasing public safety employees’ pensions to 4% at 40. Great idea, right?

    1. “Ah yes, 4DSO, I knew you wouldn’t disappointment me and Joe. Calling us “stupid”, “moronic” “idiots”, accusing us of engaging in personal attacks, man that feels great. Thank you sir, may I have another? ”
      Sure, here it comes.

      “By the way, you didn’t let me and Joe know what you think of our idea of increasing public safety employees’ pensions to 4% at 40. Great idea, right?”
      I didn’t tell what I think because it’s a hypothetical that only a moron would put forth as an argument. Now if you actually follow through (like that will ever happen) and put it forth in a forum like an initiative on the ballot or an agenda item on the city council, I’ll let you know what I think about it. Until then it is the usual idiotic hot air this board spews on a regular basis while claiming some type of moral high ground in the debate about the compensation of those who have surpassed the mediocrity of their critics.

        1. I’m betting you got stuffed into a lot of lockers and tossed into more than one dumpster during your formative years.

  62. Anaheim Dude, Joe S. and English Major, we must make the man, 4SDO, feel welcome on this, and any other, blog site we see him on. Like Laker fans would a Celtic fan who fell into a Laker blog site.

  63. All I know is that Firemen in Arizona get an annual salary so they get paid a set amount fire or no fire. We should follow that model. Hey just like our military, firemen chose this career with all its dangers. These firemen get paid more than active duty troopps getting fired at in Afghanistan so I’m all for controlling these crazy costs. And those Navy firemen they also make way less than these firemen depending on rank and time Navy firemen make anything from $30k to $60k per year. And they volunteered for it too.

    1. you are out of date and out of touch with
      both Arizona fire and military compensation.

      Please stop wasting everyone’s time.

    1. I’ve got a better question.

      Are you the product of mating cousins?

      I’ve stated that I work in the private sector numerous times.

      Are you another one of the 4F idiots who can’t read?

        1. More blithering from the village idiot.

          non sequitur – noun

          1. Logic . an inference or a conclusion that does not follow from the premises.

  64. 4SDO,
    the more I read your posts the more sympathy and compassion I have for you. It occurred to me that you call all these folks who come onto this site and disagree with you, “idiot” and “moron” because that was how your were raised. It must have been quite psychologically pain to hear your parents call you these names for so many years– and I am certain for no good reason. Anyway, I do feel for you. It is just sad to see a grown person lash out at perfect strangers in such a manner. Peace brother (or sister).

    And by the way, after this coming November election when Prop B passes in San Francisco, you and I are going to have a lot to discuss. See you then. Your friend, Howard.

    1. Howard, let’s recap what is left here on this thread. First off, I like your nom de plume. I enjoyed that movie immensley. Especially the speech by the character named Howard Jensen. His scene when he describes how the world works is one of the best scenes in cinema.

      But let’s recap what’s become of this thread.

      You’ve been reduced to making psychobabble claims about my parentage.

      Joe S. has been reduced to looking like a Tourette’s Syndrom victim spouting a non-sequituir.

      Admin keeps trying to bring up Pam Keller on a thread about firefighter pay and benefits.

      Several have dissolved into syllogistic conspiracy. The mindset being that since I’m not critical of firefighters I must be one.

      English Major makes incorrect statements about my writing style and grammar. Though I appreciated Joe S’s compliment that he thought I wrote well.

      One stated I was a welfare queen who is leaching off the system. I thought that an interesting comment to someone who served his country. It says legions about mindset that exists on this board.

      In case you haven’t figured it out, this is what happens to idiots and morons who can’t make a valid point. Intelligent people recognize it immediately. Idiots and morons don’t. You don’t recognize it, so I’ll let you deduce into what category you fall.

      Here’s the fun part. With Joe S. continuing to spout off, I can make this thread last as long as I want. He (and possibly you) are powerless since you can’t disengage. I have a magnifying glass and you are the ants in my beam.

      And I could care less about Prop. 8 in San Francisco.

  65. Wow, 4SDO, I am really doing your work for you today. I found yet another moron and idiot for you to add to your ever, and quickly, expanding list. His name is Steven Malanga, a New Yorker no less, and he wrote the attached article for City Journal magazine, entitled:

    “The Beholden State, How Public Sector Unions Broke California.” If I find any more of these idiots and morons for you (boy there certainly seems to be a lot of them), I will let you know.

    Actually, this Malanga character must truly be a moron and idiot because he doesn’t even
    know that California is the GOLDEN STATE, not beholden state. Anyway, 4SDO, you’re welcome.

  66. 4SDO,
    I have found a prodigious number of other idiots and morons you can place on your enemies’ list. Boy, we will have its numbers growing exponentially before you know it–and they are from all over the state.
    You know I will do anything to keep you happy.

  67. How can you ask firefighters to make the same sacrafices as other city employees when you would never ask other city employees to work at 56 hour work week, run into a burning building, stick an HIV patient with a needle in the back of a moving vehicle, or die for thier city… Dont paint the job as so lush- unlike the poor fellows in the milit. these guys make what they should to do the outstanding job they do- get real America.

    1. Good Lord what a load of BS.

      They work two 24 hr shifts of which 8 hrs is OT! Most of it is spent sleeping or working out. Then they disappear for several days – or dig into even more OT.

      None of them die for their City and when a building is burning they stand around and spray water on the ashes.

      Time to privatize the paramedics and bet these parasites onto 5 8 HR shifts a week – and no OT.

  68. She didn’t have the guts? If that were true, she would’ve gone along with what all the other city council members were doing, instead of standing alone with her own choice. She had an opinion ( and a justified one, from my point of view), and she didn’t give in to everyone else. Whoever wrote this article needs to pull their head out of their ass.

  69. Dangerous? Not even in top 10 most dangerous jobs. Social Security deductions? Not a penny. They are exempt, got a sweet system just for them. No support for the poor like SS. Then a scam ‘disability’ finding on retirement, TAX FREE retirement pay. Spiking last few paychecks w/sick-vacation pay…huge bloat of retirement pay. Wake up taxpayers…get active.

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