For over a year Fullerton “Fire” Heroes have been pressing for Fullerton’s admission into the ranks of the OC Fire Authority, an agency that will give them more of what they crave: our money. We, as always pick-up the check.
Tuesday night, the Orange County Fire Authority proposal and the rebuttal were presented to Fullerton’s City Council, and the fire Heroes brought out the entire circus: wives, children, retired firefighters, Anaheim firefighters, Ahmad Zahra’s strange sycophant Bernard, and Ahmad permanent Plus One, Egleth Nuncci.
Of the OCFA, the Voice of OC recently wrote: “(They are) wrestling with some big issues right now, including a drop in staffing, stalled contract negotiations, along with an ever expanding wildfire season and a revolving door of fire chiefs over the past decade.”
Judging by the public comments from the fire Heroes and their supporters, this article aptly describes Fullerton.
Fullerton’s budget currently allocates an astounding $21.5 million dollars for fire Hero salaries. That is $21.5 million dollars more than as ever been allocated in general fund money for streets, roads, sidewalks or streetlights. It’s no wonder the city if falling apart. If the OCFA comes in it’s going to cost even more.
Of course, this enormous expense is humped by Fullerton taxpayers, who get the best EMT service $21.5 million dollars can buy because over 80% of all Fullerton “fire” calls are not fire calls. They are medical calls!
In the meeting, OCFA Chief Brian Fennessy says Fullerton fire is a department in crisis because they are losing so many fire Heroes to other departments.
According to Voice of OC reporting, in their last fire academy, OCFA wanted to recruit 50 fire heroes to help boost their staffing levels.
Why? Because staffing levels have “dropped to the point that firefighters are being regularly forced to pick up extra shifts.”
Sounds familiar Fullerton? Same complaints our Fullerton fire Heroes cry about their very own department.
“They (OCFA) got 19 firefighters, two of which quit within the first month to return to their old fire departments in the Inland Empire that were offering better pay and benefits.
“With that lack of new personnel, it’s putting stress on the existing staff, with many reporting they’re being forced to work dozens of hours of extra shifts against their will.”
A Fullerton fire Hero’s wife said the exact same thing at the Council meeting about the department that issues overtime to her “overworked” husband with such regularity, it is widely known in fire circles that overtime for fire heroes is a part of the salary.
There are a few certainties in life. Death. Taxes. And the pressure terrorism campaign from the Fullerton fire heroes will most certainly begin in earnest.
Zahra is bought and paid for by the Fullerton fire union, so he can’t say yes fast enough to the OCFA move. His fundraiser was dutifully attended by Fullerton Fire Union President Dan Lancaster, who snagged over $60,000 in overtime pay alone in 2020.
The fire union will definitely contribute on behalf of Ahmad’s campaign in the form of independent expenditures, of which for some reason they are always absolved.
The hypocrisy in criticizing a candidate taking donations from Tony Bushala or a John Saunders as being in the pocket of developers, but taking money from the fire heroes is beyond reproach.
Also, Fullerton’s fire union and its fearless leader Lancaster need to learn to count. Supporting Zahra gets you to 1 vote. Unless you can count to 3 Dan, you have nothing.
So support Zahra at your own peril or get better union representation that will get you better results.
Silva, Jung, Dunlap, and Whitaker can use the facts presented to see that the problems Fullerton’s department faces are the problems all departments countywide are facing. Even the glorious OCFA, when considering their sexual discrimination lawsuits, and recruiting issues, isn’t the shining city on the hill it claims to be.
The four will be the target of text, phone, and mail campaigns urging citizens to support their fire Heroes because the near 90% of their department that makes in excess of $100,000 (not counting overtime) they are not adequately compensated.
Where’s the Fire, the Orange County Grand Jury report asks.
The answer: Fullerton’s budget trying to placate its fire Heroes, who after Tuesday’s Council whine session look less like Heroes and more like entitled welfare recipients.