This is a little on the old side, but I think it’s pretty interesting considering that there have been discussions about making the move to Alameda County Fire Department in order to save money. There was even a petition, which ended up getting more signatures, a whopping 25, than the one asking the Democratic party to not endorse Rob Bonta for Assembly.
In Orange County, the Grand Jury looked at why the Orange County Fire Authority‘s, which serves more than 23 cities and the unincorporated area there, salary rates outpaced its growth. From the Orange County Register’s blog:
Since the firefighting powerhouse was born in 1995, its labor costs have grown about 10 times faster than its staff has grown — and about 3.5 times times faster than the rate of inflation, the grand jury found.
Since 1995, OCFA’s annual budget has grown 146 percent, while its staffing has grown only 17 percent, the grand jury found.
If you ever get a chance to look at the salary list for Alameda County Fire Department, for those that clutch the pearls over the compensation for local Alameda public safety, the Alameda County Fire Department salaries must be heart attack inducing.
The notion that outsourcing to a county wide agency would be an automatic savings because somehow the County is more efficient is belied by the Grand Jury examination of the Orange County Fire Authorities personnel growth vs salary growth.
Although the Grand Jury report did, according to the blog:
It would prefer to see OCFA relate salaries and benefits “to what the market will bear, i.e., high applications numbers for a job would usually lead to offering lower salaries and benefits;” and it would like OCFA to tie salaries and benefits “to local economic indexes that reflect the economies of the community served.”
But then again, we recently saw what happened in San Carlos when a City decided to go much much lower for their salary offers than surrounding communities.
Speaking of Fire Departments, recall the Chevron refinery fire from last week (Day 10 of the Summer Olympics :) ) a tid bit that I heard on the news was the Chevron itself has a Firefighting force of 60 Firefghters. Now I imagine that these are workers who are also fire fighters, but that they have that many people and needed the assistance of the Richmond Fire Department to put out that fire shows the severity of the problem.