Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 25, 2012

Fed force

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Public Resources — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Since someone (coughjohncough) likes to pull out the old Federal employee salary list to compare to Alameda’s employees, I finally found a database that allowed me to search for select Federal employees.   Essentially all the national defense type departments are not included in the database, that includes the whole Department of Defense, but some Firefighters did show up and so we can use that as a sort of comparison.    Don’t bother searching for police, it doesn’t even list the states they are in.

With that here’s the first page:

As you notice, while the folks in the Bay Area aren’t that far off from the base salary of Alameda’s Firefighters.   There’s another page of this but the rest are in Petaluma or Yosemite.   Oh yeah, there’s one other guy at the Presidio at grade AD 00 and making $54K.   I honestly don’t know what Grade AD 00 is but the guy making $108K is at the same level too.

So I checked what Fire Protection and Prevention actually was because it was the closest thing to Firefighter there was on the database, I guess that is the federal government way of saying “Firefighter.”     Anyway, GS13 and GS11 sounded really high, so I checked in the salary database to see at what step the majority of our Firefighters were at.    Based on a quick calculation and using this salary schedule, it appears that the majority of Alameda’s Fire Department (Fire Captains, Firefighters and Fire Apparatus Operators) are all all senior enough to be at or close to the highest Step possible.    Of course that’s a good thing when there are hazardous situations, a bad thing for a City’s budget because that just means that they cost more.

In other Fire related news apparently Alameda County Fire Department Chief Sheldon Gilbert will “step down” in July.   I first heard that he was retiring, but interestingly enough the word “retire” doesn’t appear in this report of his departure from Alameda County Fire.  The whole line about “to pursue other career objectives and interests.” Sounds suspiciously like all those “spending more time with my family” lines that usually means someone is getting pushed out.



  1. coughjackcough
    All your scale shows is that fed pay rates are grossly low, because the only jobs listed on your database that come close to a garden variety firefighter are the GS- 7 and 8.

    Comment by coughcough — May 25, 2012 @ 7:38 am

  2. Actually in Alameda, we have higher “stepped” Fire force, most Fire Apparatus Operators in Alameda are at the highest step available in Alameda (Step 5), the majority of Fire Captains are at Step 6 or 7, the majority of the Firefighters are at the higher levels too because Alameda Fire hasn’t had any entry level folks in a while.

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 25, 2012 @ 7:48 am

  3. For instance, the union president in Ala fire, if the base hadn’t closed and he had made Captain, as he is now, would be making less than half of what he makes now.

    Comment by coughcough — May 25, 2012 @ 8:32 am

  4. I’m sure it’s tough to break into the millionaire’s fire fighting club. Given the killer pay and benefits in Alameda and the fact that, statistically speaking, it’s a lot less risky a job than in cities with higher density, crime, and high-rise buildings. I suspect serious connections are required before you can even hope to darken the door at AFD. But then I’m cynical. What’s ironic is that, in many ways, a powerful union operates much like an investment banking firm, doing what it will with other people’s money because no one has the wherewithal to challenge it. If the firefighters need equipment upgrades, I suggest they take up a collection among themselves since they are the ones in Alameda who can best afford it.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 25, 2012 @ 9:45 am

  5. “Since someone (coughjohncough) likes to pull out”

    Lauren I didn’t know you were a doctor and checking me for a Hernia. Do you want me to Turn my Head also.

    Also Dr. Do I gave everyone contact and phone numbers of Travis Air Base Fire Department to confirm my numbers.

    I guess Jack was in line early for first physical. I hope her hands were warm.

    Comment by John — May 25, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  6. #4. Here is some of what makes it difficult to fight fires in Alameda: Density – we are one of the highest density cities in the bay area. Old housing stock: Our beautiful Victorians are very difficult to fight fires in. Many are quite high-roofed and steeply pitched roofs at that. Victorians burn “from the top down”, which involves having to get up high to fight the fire. I am speaking from experience as we had such a house fire in our 1877 Victorian. The fire fighters did a magnificent job of containing the fire and protecting the contents of the house. It could have been far worse if they had not come very promptly and worked efficiently. Theirs is a dangerous job. They save lives. I do not begrudge them or the police, who also often work in dangerous situations, anything.

    #5. The issue of the sustainability of the current pension and benefit system is quite another matter, and the City is working hard right now to find solutions. Every city in California and many across the nation are facing the same issues – when the economy was in better shape and our investments were yielding good returns, we could afford what we negotiated. We can no longer sustain what we set up then and we did not create any way to decrease the levels of contribution/funding when the economy turned sour (bad mistake.) The solutions are not easy ones. We must as we propose them work carefully through the pros and cons of each and identify unintended consequences. There will have to be shared sacrifice no matter which (s) are chosen. There are no easy fixes that will hold up in litigation. And that is the long and the short of it.

    Comment by Kate Quick, — May 25, 2012 @ 11:59 am

  7. Churchlady

    The last contract that was recommended by Staff and approved and voted on by Mayor and council was during the worst financial crisis ever. Markets had been closed and Calpers had lost Billions.

    The Economy was NOT IN BETTER Shape and were suffering HUGE losses and Tax Revenues were dropping and there were huge layoffs.

    Trying to rewrite history is being desingenious and misleading.

    Comment by John — May 25, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

  8. Kate, AFD saved my house when the one next door burned to the ground. I am of course grateful. This does not mean that I think they now should get whatever they ask for. I don’t blame any City employee for taking what’s offered. What I object to is the refusal to live within the budget constraints that affect everybody else, and the apparent inability of the City council to say “no”. A lack of planning on the City’s part should not constitute an emergency on the tax payer’s part.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 25, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

  9. Churchlady

    Your Quote

    ” Every city in California and many across the nation are facing the same issues – when the economy was in better shape and our investments were yielding good returns, we could afford what we negotiated.”

    In 1995 Fire was about 15-16% of Budget and Police about the same according to all the information I have seen.. This was 17 Years after Prop 13 was implemented.

    2001 Contract that was signed and agreed upon after the greatest tumble in our financial system where Markets had lost 80% of its Value and Millions out of Work and business were shutting doors daily and revenues to the City were in tremedous jeopardy and Calpers Posting Billions in Losses…..But Staff said everything ok…

    Everything was so good they had to close the Markets for a week…..Plus Staff was due for new Contract….Just coincidence they said all was well…

    To even make more sense out of all these raises and lucrative pensions in 2001 we also had the Base Closure 4 years prior and revenues had dropped significantly from that. But Staff recommended these people need more money and We do to,,

    The Council and Mayor are huge Benefactors From the Firemans Unions and Employee Unions in their Campaigns . Not a healthy situation when it comes to Labor Contracts and the fudicary responsibilty owed to the Citizens . That is why we are Upside Down.

    Comment by John — May 25, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  10. Churchlady

    “There are no easy fixes that will hold up in litigation.”

    What about the Labor Contracts and the fudicary responsibilty owed to the Citizens .

    If you have Staff and all interested parties benefitting from Contracts and Citizens were trusting that everyone was acting in their best interest…..Time to Cough..

    Comment by John — May 25, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  11. A fiduciary duty (from Latin fiduciarius, meaning “(holding) in trust”; from fides, meaning “faith”, and fiducia, meaning “trust”) is a legal or ethical relationship of confidence or trust between two or more parties. Typically, a fiduciary prudently takes care of money for another person. One party, for example a corporate trust company or the trust department of a bank, acts in a fiduciary capacity to the other one, who for example has funds entrusted to it for investment. In a fiduciary relationship, one person, in a position of vulnerability, justifiably vests confidence, good faith, reliance and trust in another whose aid, advice or protection is sought in some matter. In such a relation good conscience requires the fiduciary to act at all times for the sole benefit and interest of the one who trusts.

    A fiduciary is someone who has undertaken to act for and on behalf of another in a particular matter in circumstances which give rise to a relationship of trust and confidence.

    A fiduciary duty[1] is the highest standard of care at either equity or law. A fiduciary (abbreviation fid) is expected to be extremely loyal to the person to whom he owes the duty (the “principal”): he must not put his personal interests before the duty, and must not profit from his position as a fiduciary, unless the principal consents.

    When a fiduciary duty is imposed, equity requires a different, arguably stricter, standard of behavior than the comparable tortious duty of care at common law. It is said the fiduciary has a duty not to be in a situation where personal interests and fiduciary duty conflict, a duty not to be in a situation where his fiduciary duty conflicts with another fiduciary duty, and a duty not to profit from his fiduciary position without knowledge and consent. A fiduciary ideally would not have a conflict of interest. It has been said that fiduciaries must conduct themselves “at a level higher than that trodden by the crowd”[2] and that “[t]he distinguishing or overriding duty of a fiduciary is the obligation of undivided loyalty.”[3]

    Comment by John — May 25, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  12. Most Cities have this in their Ethics section. I wonder if Alameda Does.


    A City employee owes a fiduciary duty to the City at all times in the performance of his/her public duties.


    On another note..Have a Fabulous Memorial Day

    Raymond Zack Family Sues City of Alameda and County of Alameda—crown-beach-drowning.shtml

    Comment by John — May 25, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

  13. Don’t bother searching for police, it doesn’t even list the states they are in.

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 26, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

  14. Jack

    Look on Page 30 of your Document.

    (See for definitions of locality pay areas.)
    EFFECTIVE JANUARY 2012 Annual Rates by Grade and Step x

    Comment by John — May 28, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  15. Jack

    It’s the Jon Spangler Rule……..You can’t use them in Logical Discussion or anything the BLS uses..It’s NOT FAIR. Were Different. It’s the Gold Coast Jon Closet Rule voted on by him and the Bride.

    Comment by John — May 28, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

  16. Jack you can look at this information but don’t try to come up with any solutions with it.

    Just doesn’t apply to Jon and Kates way of thinking.

    Those Do_ Gooders don’t stop giving.

    Individuals and groups interested in proposing changes to current GS locality pay area boundaries may contact the Federal Salary Council—

    By email at or
    By writing to the Council at
    ATTN: Federal Salary Council
    U.S. Office of Personnel Management
    1900 E Street, NW., Room 7H31
    Washington, DC 20415-8200

    The Federal Wage System (FWS) is a uniform pay-setting system that covers Federal appropriated fund and nonappropriated fund blue-collar employees who are paid by the hour. The system’s goal is to make sure that Federal trade, craft, and laboring employees within a local wage area who perform the same duties receive the same rate of pay. The FWS includes 132 appropriated fund and 125 nonappropriated fund local wage areas. Successful labor-management partnership is the hallmark of the FWS, with labor organizations involved in all phases of administering the pay system.

    Under this uniform pay system –

    Your pay will be the same as the pay of other Federal jobs like yours in your wage area, and

    Your pay will be in line with pay for private sector jobs like yours in your wage area.

    Comment by John — May 28, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

  17. I would have not entered the whole Fire dept trash ,
    should they have stayed out of politic ,
    they choosed to become polititian now they are fair game.
    They with Russo conconted a campaign of fear to get a raise …..
    They showed us their courage , bravery and galantry with Mr Zach by watching him drown from the top of their truck to get a better view.
    It took a small Woman to bring the Body to shore , they could have walked there like we all have done at one time or another.
    Without that small woman Mr Zach would still be floating around. They choose to hide behind a piece of paper , Cowards!
    These braves Fireman drive around their truck in the City like if they own it and thanks to peoples like Mr Russo they do .
    should we make a list of properties they have saved , then another for the one they have destroyed
    Should we make another one for the life they have saved and one for the life they let go , sadly Mr Zack is very far from being alone .
    Poor firemen they can’t afford to leave in Alameda that’s why they leave in Alamo , San Ramon , Walnut creek fairfield …..
    Some even have vehicle paid and fully maintained at your expenses , other simply fill up their vehicles at the yard and the scam is simple , it take one driver with a magnetic gas card , then they can fill as many vehicle as they like , the same practice at public work . no control .
    if you ever see a couples of alameda City truck at the flea market during the week it’s because the GPS control has been disabled ,

    Comment by mijoka — May 29, 2012 @ 11:42 pm

  18. John ! Ethic in Alameda ? You got to be kidding …..
    Should you ever have problems with building permit just go to Gallagher and Lindzay ,
    that’s how Lucien the former owner of Luciano got his problems resolved overnight.

    Comment by mijoka — May 29, 2012 @ 11:50 pm

  19. Attorney General Kamala Harris will be making about as much as an assistant city attorney in Alameda.

    Comment by alameda — June 3, 2012 @ 8:37 am

  20. “…Kamala Harris will be making about as much as an assistant city attorney in Alameda.”

    Whoa, we can’t have that! We need to add a pay raise for the Ass Cit Att on measure C, immediately!

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 3, 2012 @ 10:09 am

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