By Barbara Wood
Special to the Almanac
Directors of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District voted Tuesday night (July 19) to change the way they look at the pay and benefits offered to firefighters and other district employees.
The "Employee Compensation Philosophy" unanimously approved by the five-member board of directors will come back to the board for final approval next month.
In the past, salary levels have often been based on what other fire districts pay their employees. The new policy says that if a "sufficient number of qualified applicants" apply for a job, the salary level should be considered to be enough to attract "employees who are qualified and committed to provide high quality service to the community."
The board will look at private employers as well as public employers when figuring out pay and benefit packages, and will attempt to clearly show the total cost to the district of the entire pay and benefit package for each employee.
Pay and benefits will be tied to merit and performance and pay increases based only on length of employment would not be allowed. The board would continually re-evaluate its pay practices and consider factors such as current local economic conditions when setting pay and befit levels.
"We were elected to represent the taxpayers," board member Peter Carpenter said. "This is where we want to start from and then we'll negotiate from there."
At a future meeting, the board plans to discuss how the directors themselves are compensated and reimbursed for benefits such as health insurance.
● Click here to read the text of the new compensation policy.