How do you fight a fiscal deficit? With fire …

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Looks like West Covina will be $1.1 million richer over the next two years thanks to Fire Department employees who agreed to defer their raises.

Ben Baeder reported earlier this week that the Fire Fighters Association’s and Fire Management Association have opted against a 5-percent raise they were supposed to receive beginning in January to help with the city’s budget deficit.

Now, they’ll get half of that proposed raise in July 2011 and the other half in January 2012.

All Fire Department employees will also get 36 hours of vacation time.

The city’s police union agreed to a similar deal in July, which saved West Covina $1.8 million.

West Covina was looking at a $10 million deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year, but the gap has narrowed due to concessions from employees and other cuts.

  • Anonymous

    WOW! THAT’S ABSOLUTELY A….MEANINGLESS GESTURE.

    GIVING UP A RAISE IN TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES: THAT’S WHAT QUALIFIES FOR SACRIFICE THESE DAYS.

    THAT’S LIKE GETTING YOUR FRIEND TO PAY FOR YOUR DINNER AND THEN SAYING YOU’LL HELP OUT BY PASSING ON DESSERT….FOR TONIGHT (YOUR FRIEND WILL STILL OWE YOU A DESSERT PLUS A SODA THE NEXT DAY OF COURSE).

  • Anonymouse

    Know what Anonymous? You’re right. Hey, I got an idea. Let’s sell your car and house to help pay for fire services. That’ll show them the true meaning of sacrifice!

  • Jon

    With the money we pay in taxes to support inflated services selling our houses may not be all that far fetched.

    SEE HOW MUCH THEIR PENSIONS ALONE COST YOU:
    http://www.caltax.org/Anderson-PaddingForPensions12-11-04.pdf

  • Seriously?

    So I guess we remain anonymous when we have no knowledge or actual basis to make our claims. Giving up a guarunteed raise is meaningless? Seriously, these people who have families, financial obligations and other responsibilities volunteer, that’s right, volunteer to give up a guarunteed raise (by contract) for two years and that is meaningless? C’mon, that’s just plain ignorant. Is it everything that you need, the overhaul you expect, or a solution; maybe not, but it is not meaningless.

    To compare West Covina Officers and Firefighters to L.A. County retirees is also meaningless. But hey, let’s find any ill-informed, unsubstantiated article and obviously biased article we can find and “Shoe Horn” it to fit our arguement. There is not one thing in comon if you look at the numbers. I know everyone is angry at those who have, but again, the majority of these people took the job to serve the public. Don’t blame them for the minority of people who abuse the system. Most in public saftey will be the first to decry this abuse, but do not choose to do it in a public forum. In regards to pensions, these are part of the salary and benifits program offered. If you want it changed, then reform the system if you feel the majority supports your ill-informed claims. Two firefighter’s died in the line of duty today serving their community. I’m sure that you will probably have a problem with their Widows and children unfairly collecting their death benifits. It’s just not fair… Seriously? Look at the facts before you start comparing apples to oranges. I applaud the men and women of West Covina who have voluntarily given up guarunteed raises in their efforts to help the community in which they serve.

  • Anonymous

    To the previous poster:

    Where do we begin to discuss the hypocracy, inconsistency and intellectual dishonesty of your post.

    1. Meaningless.

    Yes it is meaningless because it does not afford the city any relief from financial burdens TODAY. It also ignores the fact that others in the city have actually taken pay cuts. What’s a matter hero? You want to be praised for your job….but only as long as you get paid a kings ransom for doing it?

    2. Anonymity.

    I’m sorry, but I didn’t see where you posted your name and contact informatin. Maybe on the next post right?

    3. Most in public safety will be the firs to decry abuse.

    Well, were is this ground swell of insider outrage against pension abuse. So far I haven’t seen it. Just alot of demagoguery about how if you don’t meet their outrageous salary and pension demands you must hate public safety. Kind of like people calling you a socialist if you suggest their should be healthcare refor.

    4. Changing the system.

    I think a numbe of people would love to. We just don’t have the ability to put money into politicians pockets that the IAFF does.

    5. Posting in a public forum.

    Do you not understand how democracy works. Discussions should be public, not done in the shadows.

    6. Exploitation of death

    Why am I not surprised that you would try to trade on the lives of two of the fallen to justify something that really has nothing to do with their deaths. A fatter pensions would’n’t have prevented their deaths and to argue that this legitimate debate contributed to their deaths is just plain wrong.

  • SGV resident

    Seriously,
    Take a look at: http://www.californiapensionreform.com/CalPERS/database_results.asp
    and search on West Covina. The information on the website is about a year old, but it will give you a sample of how out of control the pension system in the city is.

  • Seriously?

    Anonymous,

    I’m sorry that you must resort to “Name Calling,” and actually do take great offense at your reference to “Exploitation of Death,” so I must address this issue first. For anyone who knew Governor Schwarzeneggers initial blast of propositions to change California, it included the Pension Reform Act. Included in this measure was a clause that would remove the right for individuals to pay into a plan which would allow their widows, in the event of a death in the line of duty, to collect 50% of their accrued pensions. Not the full pension, but only what they had earned up to this point. My reference was that many people, who scream that Pensions are ruining the state, also supported this very measure. I in no way would ever, EVER, utilize the unfortunate death of any public servant, or any person for that matter, to forward any argument.

    Since I’m working backwards…. I understand that we are in a public forum. We both know that it would be ridiculous to post private information, such as email addresses, on the internet. Privacy should allow us to have a respectful conversation, airing true differences and perhaps learning from one another. Not insulting one another as you imply I am “Operating in the shadows.” By the way, your title is “Anonymous,” and that was my initial play on words.

    I agree that a number people, including myself recognize that change may be necessary in the PERS retirement system. However, this interest always increases dramatically in down economic times and decreases substantially in good economic times. This is simple human physiology. Those who have, in tough times, are scrutinized. By itself, a down economy does not warrant sweeping changes that effect previous retiree’s or current PERS employees who have worked and earned a retirement. Just some facts. The current PERS average retirement is under $24,000. Fifty-one percent of all retiree’s in PERS earn less than $18,000 per year. Less than 1% of all PERS Retiree’s earn more than $100,000 per year. I choose not to judge whether someone has earned their retirement, only to question the formula’s, time frames, and viability. Although PERS remains the second largest retirement system, is FUNDED, and viable, a long term analysis should be done to make sure that it can continue to meet its obligations without overwhelming those who pay into the system. I asked in my previous post that you not compare PERS to the L.A. Co. Retirement system because it is separate and has nothing to do with PERS.

    Although your assumption in your opening line seems to imply that I may be a Public Servant, you are incorrect; however I am related to several. They are Hero’s in my opinion, have an extremely challenging and tough jobs, and I am sorry that you think these individuals aren’t serving the public. I wonder? Do you think that anyone who is a Firefighter or Police Officer knowingly and willingly are out to defraud and abuse the State of California and its citizens? I have had several conversations with my family members who work in both Fire/Police careers and they have expressed concerns. Why should they lead the fight? To be caught up in this debate would be foolish, and as they say “Distracting to the real reason they all signed up to do the job.” “A King’s Ransom,” is another overstatement. I believe that appropriate salaries are paid, considering the education (Yes I know it may not be the B.A., B.S., Master, etc), although my son-in-law does have a J.D. (Juris Doctorate), training, certifications and risks involved in their careers. Where people get side tracked is with the overtime. When you take the base salary and add overtime it can be well in excess of $100,000. A Big Number, but when you look at the economics, sometimes it makes sense. Sometimes. After some research, I found the PERS retirements are based on base salary, not overtime.

    Finally, I know it’s been long winded, I still believe that the Officers and Firefighters of West Covina have made a meaningful contribution to the City. Is it what you want? Obviously not. But to “Defer” a guaranteed raise for 30 months, well, is deferring a raise for 30 months. When you look at the numbers it will save the City money. Is it a perfect solution? Who knows, time will tell, but in my personal opinion, it is a MEANINGFUL contribution. From my understanding these men and women offered a multi-year deferral when the initial proposition was a one-year deferral. Again, in my opinion, that is Meaningful and does save money. Oh, with a little research you will also find that both of these departments have lost positions. Also, FACT, both departments are operating at staffing which is at or near the lowest in L.A. County. Both departments do an excellent job and provide great service, particularly with such low staffing numbers.

    Regarding SGV’s reference to the “California Pension Reform” website, I don’t know what to say. Rather than providing information, I find it to be inflammatory; it lacks any real information and only references those who have already retired. It offers no solutions, but only points fingers. It does have the neat “$$$$” wallpaper and the BIG RED LETTERS. I personally can’t point my finger at someone and say “You don’t deserve your retirement,” especially without having the least bit of information. I guess it is the website’s stance that no public servant, regardless of responsibilities or accomplishments deserves any financially meaningful retirement. How about those folks over at AIG, GM, and Financials who ran their companies into the ground and manage to float away with their golden parachutes? At least most, if not many, of those in public service put 30+ years of work into their careers.

    Anonymous, I did not intend to exploit the deaths of the two L.A. Co. Firefighters who died doing their jobs. I am sorry that you feel that I have represented myself to be intellectually dishonest, hypocritical, and dishonest. I won’t say the same to you because you have a different opinion.