Firefighters reach tentative deal with Menlo Park fire district


After seven years of working without a contract, firefighters and the management of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District have reached a tentative agreement over pay and benefits.

The contract between the district and firefighters Local 2400 is expected to cost the district a total of $9.8 million and includes salary increases of up to 17 percent over four years, according to Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman.

The contract and associated documents will be posted on the fire district's website by July 20, Chief Schapelhouman said. The memorandum of understanding accompanying the contract will be available for public comment for at least 30 days.

The five-member district board approved a posting of the tentative deal in a 4-1 vote in closed session on July 7, with Chuck Bernstein dissenting. A vote that could ratify the agreement is set for Tuesday, Aug. 25, at the board's regular meeting at 300 Middlefield Road in Menlo Park.

The tentative agreement would allow average base salaries to rise by up to 9 percent for the 2014-15 budget year just ended, and up to 3 percent for each of the following three years.

Firefighters would pay 12 percent of pension costs, retroactive to 2014-15, up from the 9 percent they are paying now. This will save the district around $1.2 million over four years, the chief said. Firefighters would also pay 10 percent of the costs for health care coverage.

The contract includes a stipend for firefighters choosing to live within 60 miles of the district, starting at $200 a month and rising to $300 by the end of the contract.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story was incorrect in stating that the board of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District had approved a tentative agreement on July 7, 2015. The board had approved the website posting of the agreement.

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Like this comment
Posted by Money for pensions
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2015 at 7:12 am

No one except employees and their associates will likely say anything. The story says forefighters would pay 12 percent of pension costs. That means someone else will pay (at least) 88 percent of pension costs for decades to come. Read about unfunded public employee pensions online in the Palo Alto Daily Post.

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 27, 2015 at 8:55 am

Most of these people are overly well compensated. They compare their salaries to other fire departments in the area which only causes a spiraling upward action. Compared to people in the military -- an average colonel's salary with at least 20 years of service would be less than the fire chief's salary, and a colonel usually commands about 5000 people.

You do the math -- if a colonel is making less than the fire chief then he/she is making about the same as a fire captain who supervises 3 people and may have 5-10 years experience.

I'd say they are getting a great deal; do you realize that on average Bay Area fire fighters make more than NYC fire fighters?

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