Updated: Wed, Nov 9, 2011, 11:04 am
Uploaded: Wed, Nov 9, 2011, 1:41 am
Updated: Menlo fire board gains two newcomers
Incumbent appears voted out
As of 1 a.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 9), a razor-thin margin separated the two top vote-getters in the election for two open seats on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board of Directors. The district includes Atherton, East Palo Alto and unincorporated areas, as well as Menlo Park.
Preliminary results reported by Shapethefuture.org show community activist Virginia Chang Kiraly in first place with 2,529 votes, trailed by national security expert Rob Silano with 2,521 votes. Both candidates received union endorsements, as well as backing from local elected officials, despite supporting pension reform.
"Of course I'm very pleased that voters have selected me," Mr. Silano said. "I congratulate Virginia Kiraly and look forward to tackling the district's problems in a constructive fashion."
He praised the community's awareness of the issues facing the district. "When my wife and I were walking neighborhoods, I was so surprised at the educated voters that are out there. Not only about pension reform, which is a very critical topic, but budgets and operating expenses, training and experience," he noted. "It was very rare to come in contact with someone who wasn't informed."
Incumbent Bart Spencer, with 2,369 votes, would lose the seat he's held for 12 years on the board if the gap remains after all mail-in and provisional ballots are counted. He's not quite ready to concede, however, telling the Almanac that during his first election in 1997, an incumbent pulled ahead after lagging behind in the preliminary results.
"Until the votes are counted, I'm proud of being able to give the community 12 years of service. I really have an affinity for the fire service and what they do, and I'm pleased to be able to contribute," he said.
Money may have played a role in the outcome, he commented. "It comes down to how much money you want to spend on a local election, what one feels is an appropriate amount to spend versus the amount of return. When you're spending more than $40,000 or $50,000 on local election, is that an appropriate amount? It's just a question each individual person has to ask."
Mr. Spencer estimated he spent between $6,000 and $7,000 on his campaign.
Scott Barnum, a businessman and disaster-preparedness volunteer, came in with 1,426 votes, perhaps indicative of the low profile he kept during the campaign. "My platform was the independent and frugal platform, and a personal predilection, rightly or wrongly, for trying to do it the old-fashioned way where you don't have to spend your way to victory," Mr. Barnum said. "In this day and age, you probably do need to do more marketing. It's hard to go against one's principles. You know have (principles) when they start to hurt a little bit"
He congratulated the winners and said the district was fortunate to have a variety of candidates, compared to uncontested races.
Steve Kennedy, who had a higher profile but a checkered history during a previous term on the board, got 807 votes.
Measure F, which allows the fire district to spend up to $40 million over four years in tax revenues it already collects, passed by 76.8 percent. The measure does not rack up new taxes or costs, but was necessary due to a state law known as the "Gann limit" that effectively caps appropriations for operational expenditures. The current cap of $40 million was approved in 2007, but set to expire at the end of this year.
Ms. Kiraly and Mr. Kennedy were not immediately available for comment.
Posted by Peter Carpenter,
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 10, 2011 at 10:57 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
"spiteful devious tactics to punish these hardworking men"
Which of these decisions (which include cash payments of over$1 million) by the District's elected officials do you think are spiteful or deceitful or punishment?
1. The District reaffirms its Labor Relations Policy and Plan (attached as Exhibit A),
as well its Compensation Policy (attached as Exhibit B). This resolution is intended to
implement these District policies.
2. The District reaffirms its commitment to observe the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act
("MMBA"), and to meet and confer with labor regarding all matters within the scope of
representation. Notwithstanding the Union's refusal to negotiateto datethe District invites
the Union to meet and confer concerning any impacts stemming from this Resolution.
Furthermore, all items in this resolution that are mandatory subjects of bargaining shall be
subject to future negotiation when the Union chooses to return to the bargaining table to
negotiate a successor memorandum of understanding.
3. The District hereby adopts the following classifications for non-management
Senior Inspector 3
All other job classifications covering fire suppression personnel are hereby deleted. Incumbents
in any classification which is deleted shall be re-classified in one of the foregoing classifications
according to their credentials. For example, Firefighters who hold paramedic certification shall
be classified as "Firefighter-Paramedic," Firefighters who possess a valid EMT certificate shall
be classified as "Firefighter-EMT," and so on. This rank structure facilitates the District's
elimination of separate pay premiums, consistent with its Labor Relations Policy and Plan.
4. The hourly rate schedules applicable to non-management classifications, and
monthly salaries for Battalion Chiefs and Division Chiefs, are set forth in Exhibit C to this
resolution. Any increases or decrease in the hourly rate and salary schedules shall be subject to
approval by the Board of Directors.
5. The Fire Chief shall "y" rate any incumbent who would otherwise suffer a base
wage reduction by virtue of this resolution.
6. The Fire Chief shall have the authority to establish regular pay periods, and to
declare any appropriate work period under Section 7K of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Unless
the Fire Chief institutes a different schedule, pay days shall be bi-monthlyon the 15th day and
the last day of each month.
7. Supplemental Earnings: All "Supplemental Earnings" (formerly referred to as
"Acting Pays") are set forth in Exhibit D attached hereto.
8. The eligibility of new hire firefighters (Firefighter-Academy, Firefighter-Trainee
and Firefighter-Probationary) for wages and benefits is set forth in Exhibit E attached hereto.
Health and Welfare Benefits
9. The Fire Chief shall maintain a simple health and benefit program that is
transparent and easily understood by the public. A summary of the benefits program is attached
hereto as Exhibit F.
10. Consolidation of Leave: In order to promote transparency and administrative
efficiency, the District shall phase out the multiple leave balances and implement a single Annual
Leave program for those ranks specified in paragraph 3. As part of the District's effort to
minimize long term fiscal liabilities, the annual leave cap for all 56 hour employees shall be 480
hours; for all 40 hour Senior Inspector employees, the cap shall be 320 hours. All annual leave
hours currently held by any employee in excess of the applicable cap will be cashed out. Details
regarding the program are included in Exhibit G attached hereto. All remaining Extended Sick
Leave (ESL) hours will be converted to 25% of their current balance and added to the
employee's annual leave bank (subject to the cap of 480), with any excess hours deposited to the
employee's PEHP account. 4
11. Retiree Medical Program: For current retirees already receiving a retiree medical
benefit, the benefit shall remain unchanged. For employees hired on or after January 1, 2012,
the District shall no longer make a separate contribution to retiree health. For current safety
employees, the Fire Chief shall implement a buy-out plan as set forth in Exhibit H attached
hereto. Current safety employees shall be required to select one of the options included in the
buy-out plan, and if they fail to make an election, amounts will be paid in cash.
12. Educational Reimbursement Program: The Fire Chief has sole discretion to
approve or deny reimbursement requests and to determine whether a particular training or class
is or is not beneficial to the District. The Fire Chief shall approve only such requests as the
Chief deems beneficial to the District.
13. New Hires: The Fire Chief shall consider options for developing a "second tier"
retirement program for employees hired on or after January 1, 2012; the options to be
considered shall include both lower level defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans
(such as a 401k). The Fire Chief shall report his findings and recommendation to the Board.
14. Current Employees: Current employees shall pay 75% of any future increases to
the CalPERS employer contribution rate (over the current 25.821%), subject to any applicable
CalPERS rules or restrictions.
Miscellaneous Operational Issues
15. Holiday Work Schedule: There is no modified holiday work schedule for 56 hour
employees. Employees shall adhere to daily and weekly work schedules as determined by the
16. Senior Inspectors:
In order to improve the efficiency and increase the number of productive hours, the
work day for Senior Inspectors shall begin at 7:00 a.m. Each employee shall take a mandatory
staggered minimum lunch, which is unpaid, of thirty minutes. Paid exercise time for Senior
Inspectors is eliminated. Senior Inspectors are exempt from the Wellness Program.
17. In accordance with District needs and the corresponding organization of Station
responsibilities, the position of "adjutant" is hereby eliminated. The incumbent shall be
permitted to remain in this position until January 2, 2012.
18. The Fire Chief shall enforce a requirement that all emergency responders must be
able to return to the District within two hours. Current employees presently residing outside of
this requirement may be grandfathered in unless and until they change residences. All safety
employees hired on or after January 1, 2012, shall be subject to this requirement regardless of
current residence. 5
19. The Fire Chief is authorized to implement any practice that, in the Fire Chief's
discretion, enhances the delivery of services, creates efficiencies, improves accountability, or
enhances the health and safety of District personnel. These practices encompass, but are not
limited to: station bid cycles and rotations; assignments; selection of annual leave; trades;
prescheduled "back-fills;" and daily and weekly work schedules. The Fire Chief may implement
any provision encompassed within the District's September 21, 2011, proposal to "maximize
efficiencies in the work schedule." (This proposal is attached hereto as Exhibit I.)
20. The District confirms that it is not bound indefinitely by any provision in the
MOU that expired on June 30, 2008. With respect to future new proposals within the scope of
representation that are not encompassed by this resolution, the Union shall be given the
opportunity to meet and confer as required by State law. With respect to proposals for changes
to matters within the scope of representation encompassed by this resolution, the Union shall be
given the opportunity to meet and confer over impacts as required by State law. Except for
disciplinary appeals, the grievance procedure in the expired MOU is suspended unless and until
the parties reach formal agreement on a successor MOU that contains a grievance procedure.
Employees may continue to avail themselves of the grievance procedure set forth in Policy No.
305, unless and until that policy is amended. (A copy of the current policy is attached hereto as
21. The Fire Chief shall revise the District's personnel and operational policy
manuals. These policies shall be subject to meet and confer, when required by law, but shall
not be subject to the District's impasse resolution procedure.
22. The Fire Chief is hereby empowered to take any actions necessary in the Fire
Chief's discretion to implement the terms of this resolution.
23. If any provision in this resolution is found to be invalid or otherwise
unenforceable, all remaining provisions shall remain in full force and effect. This resolution is
subject to amendment by the Board of Directors pursuant to District policy and State law.
I HEREBY CERTIFY that the above and foregoing resolution was passed and
adopted by the Board of Directors of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District at its special
meeting held on the 28th of October, 2011,
The election of two union endorsed Directors has truly unleashed the dogs of war. This is a real insight into the union's true nature and their expectation of now getting their payback.
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