https://almanacnews.com/square/print/2019/03/28/who-are-menlo-park-fire-districts-highest-paid-staff


Town Square

Who are Menlo Park fire district's highest-paid staff?

Original post made on Mar 28, 2019

The number of Menlo Park Fire Protection District employees whose compensation surpassed $300,000 continued to increase in 2018, with 25 employees making over that amount, and one - Deputy Chief Don Long - passing the $400,000 mark.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 28, 2019, 10:25 AM

Comments

Posted by Question
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 28, 2019 at 10:47 am

Has Kiraly ever voted against a pay raise?
Worrying after the fact doesn’t help much.
How many pay raises and compensation packages has Kiraly voted for during her time on the Board?
At least Bernstein votes like he talks.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:24 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Once again Wood ignores the data (provided to her many, many times) that shows that literally thousands of firefighters and hundreds of fire chiefs in California are paid more than their highest paid MPFPD counterparts.

Web Link


Web Link


Posted by menlo park resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 28, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Every year this Board salary gorging gets worse with no one to stop this out of control fire board operation. Peter Carpenter as long time board member propagated these type of expenditures of tax payer money and now continues to be a shill for the fire board and will defend this outrageous compensation behavior. This salary raid on taxpayer money is only part of the outrageous Board spending as buying high priced real estate. It makes your stomach churn to see such unabashed chutzpah in lining Board employee pockets with over the top compensation and lunacy spending.


Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 28, 2019 at 12:50 pm

I would like to see in-district overtime and "other" pay capped at a reasonable amount. What people earn from outside the district is not our concern, unless it affects our pension liabilities, service provided locally, or we are paying excessive overtime to staff to cover for those that are providing services elsewhere.

Please provide these specifics.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 28, 2019 at 12:54 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"over the top compensation"

Note that thousands of firefighters and hundreds of fire chiefs in California are paid more than their highest paid MPFPD counterparts.


Posted by John Ullom
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2019 at 1:04 pm

Chang Kiraly has never voted against paying firefighters more. The unions love her. She is busy bankrupting the Harbor District too.

Carpenter can only respond with babble about other individuals getting more. He will not address the fact that the department he is imposing on you all pays his union supporters more than any other fire department in all the realm.

And now the department wants to buy housing for its well paid staff.


Posted by 4 legs to the table
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 28, 2019 at 1:36 pm

300k? 400k?

Yeah, Peter, nothing to see here.

Amazing.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 28, 2019 at 1:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

“pays his union supporters ”

John - I am a private citizen and I don’t have any union supporters. And when I was a Director the union begged me not to run and opposed me when I ran anyway.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 28, 2019 at 2:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

“Yeah, Peter, nothing to see here.“

There is a LOT to see but not if you speculate about what other agencies might report or if you ignore the most fundamental factor in employee compensation which is job by job compensation data. As noted there are hundreds of fire chiefs and thousands of firefighters in California who make more than their MPFPD counterparts.

So look but look carefully rather than thru wooden blinders.


Posted by medical dental pension AND shopping!
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 28, 2019 at 2:15 pm

> Yeah, Peter, nothing to see here.

Followed by a tone deaf response - when any one else looks at $300K & $400K compensation and is rather stunned.

I guess we all see what we want to see (or miss seeing.) Please, filibuster on...


Posted by lnon
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 28, 2019 at 2:51 pm

Fact of the matter is that MP Fire are extremely high paid, and it appears to be going up at the rate of over 5% a year for the next 5 years. What is wrong with the folks who are supposed to be watching over these people? This is a joke! Chang Kirally and the rest of her buddies on the board need to be replaced and there needs to be a true, non rubber-stamping group brought in to get these people under control. 25 people making over $300k and one over $400k? Totally ridiculous! And I don’t really care what Peter Carpenter says, he’s just an apologist for the district and an enabler of the ridiculous practices that got us into this position in the first place.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 28, 2019 at 2:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I don’t really care what Peter Carpenter says, "

Thats fine but do take the time to look at the facts:

Web Link
Where in this list is the first MPFPD chief officer?

Web Link
Where in this list is the first MPFPD firefighter?


Posted by Been There
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 28, 2019 at 4:25 pm

Been There is a registered user.

Clearly something is wrong with this pay scale. It does not represent what firefighters are being paid at large. When an opening is made for another firefighter and there are 1,000 applications for the one job the pay is clearly out of wack.
A classic example of the voters serving the government, not the other way around, as it should be.


Posted by sjtaffee
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 28, 2019 at 4:28 pm

sjtaffee is a registered user.

I am not sure how any reasonable person can take a look at some of these salaries and conclude that there's something wrong here when public servants are making money like this. The fact that there other jurisdictions who pay more is, to me, irrelevant.

Such salaries don't pass the smell test.

I appreciate all of the hard work, training, and risk associated with being a firefighter. But salaries as high as these are out of whack for other public employees who we, the taxpayers, also value such as teachers and child care workers who make so much less.

Right now the MPFD is in a situation w widespread perception is that it is flush with money and irresponsible in spending it. They need to do a much better job in explaining themselves and taking a look the many people in the community they serve wh can barely make ends meet. And with money like that the idea that they need to live outside of Menlo Park because it's too expensive here rings pretty hollow.

steve taffee


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 28, 2019 at 4:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It does not represent what firefighters are being paid at large."

Please look at the facts:

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 28, 2019 at 6:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

""Overall, I think salaries and compensation are high, especially if you look at the median household income of our two neighboring cities, Redwood City and Palo Alto," Chang Kiraly said, pointing to statistics showing that Redwood City's median income is $90,461, and Palo Alto's is $137,043. In San Francisco, she said, the average salary for a chief public administrator is $167,300.

Bernstein, who runs a company providing early childhood education and child care, said that on a personal level, "as an educator, it troubles me deeply to be paying (his employees), many of whom have gone into debt to pursue college and graduate-level degrees, so much less than the district is paying its employees."

Sadly both Kiraly and Bernstein are politician who are more concerned with their political futures than with their stewardship of the Fire District. It is interesting and instructive that the reporter choose these two Board members to interview.

We have one of the very best fire agencies in the entire Nation and Bernstein would destroy it with the imposition of the below market salaries that he pays his employees and Kiraly would do whatever advanced her political fortunes regardless of the impact on the level of emergency services that resulted.


Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 28, 2019 at 6:39 pm

This is disgusting. There is someone in our fire department that gets paid more than the President of the United States. There are interns making more than $200,000 a year? Seriously? Remember we are not just paying this exorbitant salary once, it gets factored into their pensions and so the more we pay them now the more we pay them for the rest of their lives as part of their pension package.

Something needs to change and it needs to change soon. Even if that change needs to take place in Sacramento, this district is an example of having too much money and not enough common sense.

Oh and here comes peter with his attempts to whitewash the ridiculous amount being paid by pointing out that there are other individuals that earn more. Peter, that is not the point, the point is that "The fire district was No. 1 for average wages on the state website in 2014, 2016 and 2017. In 2015 it was No. 2." and they look like they get to keep the #1 spot for 2018 all paid for by us the tax payers in the disrtict. Argue what ever you will, this is wrong.


Posted by Jimmy
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 28, 2019 at 7:43 pm

I'd like to know the total budget, and the total amount spent on salaries, for how many workers. And what exactly we get for it. How many people and structures are protected. How many fires get put out, how many emergency medical calls, how many kittens rescued. I'd rather spend the money on education.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 28, 2019 at 7:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Web Link


Posted by 2020
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 28, 2019 at 8:15 pm

Don’t complain. Vote. We need candidates to run against the incumbents in the next election. End the madness.


Posted by lnon
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 28, 2019 at 8:20 pm

There are no prizes for having the highest paid FD in the state (and, therefore, probably, the country). It just shows how the citizens here have taken our eyes off the ball and allowed this form of governmental theft to occur. Yes, the FD is awash in cash. Even after outspending their budget by $11M last year, they still have $55M of our taxpayer’s dollar in their coffers. Ridiculous. And, please, Peter. No more apologies for their budget. We’ve had enough—-time to take it to the voting booth.


Posted by Jenson
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 28, 2019 at 8:25 pm

Peter just spouts the same old story about how fire personnel in other cities make more money. Divert attention away from the MP fire district and the fact that they are overpaid for what they have to do in the small area they serve. The board has no teeth to do anything they are a paper tiger with no guts to stop the misuse of our tax dollars. Can’t count the number of times the fire trucks go racing out of the station and return in 10 minutes because there was no major problem. No checks and balance procedures in place means more of the same.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 28, 2019 at 8:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It would be great if there were concerned citizens who were willing to run for the Fire Board.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 28, 2019 at 8:33 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

To you folks that are upset by how much money the fire district takes in, you need to educate yourselves on how that money is allocated. If you want it changed, you need to talk to the STATE. That's who allocates your property taxes. If you don't like how they are allocated, THE STATE is the one in control of that. You can can complain on this forum all you want and it will have ZERO effect. THE STATE determines how much money the district gets. You want it reduced? TALK TO YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES OR PUT AN INITIATIVE ON THE BALLOT TO CHANGE IT. [Portion removed] You just show your ignorance of how the fire district gets its money.


Posted by 2020
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 28, 2019 at 9:04 pm

@menlovoter, we know the District gets its money from property taxes. We just disagree with how the District and the Fire Board spends taxpayer dollars. It’s time for new management.


Posted by Jimmy
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 28, 2019 at 9:39 pm

Overpaid firefighters must be some kind of union deal. They’re overpaid all over the place.

Why is there no competition, given the number of people who want to be firemen?

Is it that the firefighters union is limiting supply on a regional basis?

Or that the union pays for a big lobby in Sacramento. Like the prison guard union does.


Posted by Jimmy
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:18 pm


Web Link

I don't get why we spend so much on fire. I'd rather spend it on schools. Who can change this?


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 29, 2019 at 7:24 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"I don't get why we spend so much on fire. I'd rather spend it on schools. Who can change this?"

Pay attention. THE STATE is the ONLY one that can change this.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 29, 2019 at 7:25 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

2020:

So, they should just sit on a pile of cash? I think if you do any looking you will find that MPFPD is one of the best fiscally managed public entities in the state.


Posted by lnon
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 29, 2019 at 12:42 pm

@menlo voter:
Why do you say that? Seems to me they are grossly overfunded, are awash in cash, and all they do is manage not to spend more than the huge amount they get every year. I guess that in government circles, that’s considered good fiscal management.


Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 29, 2019 at 7:55 pm

While it may be true that Menlo firefighters are highly paid, maybe the highest, despite all the arguments to counter -- we need to get the best, it's a comparable salary, etc. The PERCEPTION is that the FD is over paid, cash-cow, and id buying up property, and more.

They are supposed to be public servants, but the perception is causing a black cloud to hover over the department every time this topic comes up.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 29, 2019 at 9:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" but the perception is causing a black cloud "

Of course - that was the reporter's intention. Why else write an article in which she can only speculate about what the data will be from other agencies - "The district recently posted a spreadsheet with the 2018 figures sent to the state, and they appear likely to put the agency at the head of that list again". That is not reporting facts but rather speculating on what might happen.


Posted by William
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Mar 29, 2019 at 11:57 pm

THANKS
Web Link


Posted by lnon
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 30, 2019 at 6:46 am

@Bob : The “perception” is that they are overpaid? No. The REALITY is that they are overpaid. There is a black cloud over the department and it’s due to the ridiculously high pay these folks receive. If there was ever an example of an out of control public process, it’s when you have people like our ex-board member and the current ones bowing to the union and granting pretty much every pay raise and benefit in the book. Where is the contentious process between the department/union and its citizen overseers? There is none. It appears to be an open loop system.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 30, 2019 at 7:06 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Where is the contentious process between the department/union and its citizen overseers? There is none."

Oh how quickly the uninformed forget:

Oct 30, 2011 Almanac:
"District firefighters have not had a raise since July 2007 because the district and the Menlo Park Firefighters Association Local 2400 have been unable to agree on a new contract. Their last contract expired in June 2008. "

This was finally ended by a new five year contract in 2015! Almost 8 years without a contract because the Board refused the union's wage demands.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 30, 2019 at 8:27 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Inon:

The district does not spend more than it receives. Have you even looked at their financials?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 30, 2019 at 8:43 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Inon is confusing the use of reserves that were carefully accumulated for fire station replacements with the annual operating costs of the District.

Note that the District's capital expenditures were paid for in cash from those carefully accumulated reserves. In the private sector it is called funding depreciation. That is seldom done in the public sector - your Fire District is a wonderful exception. Most public sector capital expenditures are funded by bonds/debt. The Fire District charges itself depreciation and hence has accumulated the necessary funds by the time a station replacement is needed. When was the last time you saw a school district or a city do the same?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 30, 2019 at 8:58 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

MPFPD 2018:
Total Expenditures $68,564,919
minus Capital Outlay $22,364,246
Net annual operating expenses of $46,200,673 vs Total Revenues $52,826,863


Posted by lnon
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 30, 2019 at 12:51 pm

@menlo voter: where did I say they spend more than they take in? Take a minute and read it again—slow down, take your time.

There are no prizes for having the highest paid FD in the state (country) except for also having the highest ongoing pension liability...


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 30, 2019 at 12:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

lnon
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 28, 2019
"Even after outspending their budget by $11M last year,"

That it what happens when a poster does not understand how to read financial statements.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 30, 2019 at 6:07 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Inon:

you need to pay attention to what you post. You said the district overspent their income. Own it. The fact is you don't know what you're talking about. If you really want to reduce the amount of money the district receives you need to talk to the STATE. What part of that don't you understand?


Posted by lnon
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 30, 2019 at 6:10 pm

Peter: fact. They did outspend their budget by $11M last year. Yes, they have a $55M “surplus.” So what. Many people in the state fire system make more than individuals in MP. MP is still the highest paid in the state. That’s where the problem lies


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 30, 2019 at 6:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

": fact. They did outspend their budget by $11M last year"

No, the OPERATING BUDGET did not and could not have included the property acquisitions that occurred.

How dumb would it be for a public entity to issue a public budget listing properties that it hoped to acquire and how much it was prepared to pay for those properties that were not then even on the market!!

How would you like to then negotiate that property purchase?


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 30, 2019 at 6:37 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Inon:

When someone sets money aside specifically for the time they might need it, they are being fiscally responsible. When they spend that money, they are not over spending their budget. They are spending money they budgeted via a set aside. What don't you understand about that? Do you have any understanding of budgets? Or is it that you're just upset that fire fighters make more than you? It's ok if that's what you're upset about. Just be honest about it and stop making yourself look foolish with you lack of knowledge.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 30, 2019 at 6:38 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"MP is still the highest paid in the state."

Wrong! There are hundreds of chiefs in California who are paid more than the highest paid MPFPD chief officer and thousands of firefighters in California that are paid more than the highest paid MPFPD firefighter.


Please do your homework before making such unsupported statements.


Where in this list is the first MPFPD chief officer?
Web Link


Where in this list is the first MPFPD firefighter?
Web Link


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 30, 2019 at 7:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Inon - Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion.

This Forum cannot be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion if reporters and posters do not do their homework.

So please answer the questions:


Where in this list is the first MPFPD chief officer?



Where in this list is the first MPFPD firefighter?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 30, 2019 at 8:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Inon - where did you go?

Please answer the questions.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 30, 2019 at 9:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Inon - where did you go?

Please answer the questions.


Posted by lnon
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 31, 2019 at 1:02 am

In the MPFPD 2018 summary, 2nd page, it shows “revenues $52,000,000 and expenditures $68,000,000” (give or take). Unless that means something other than what any corporation means when they state these things (yes, I do know this is government, so the arithmetic is different) then they spent roughly $16,000,000 more than than they took in last year. And if that is not what happened, please do enlighten us so we Silicon Vally business types can learn the double-speak of the government.


Posted by Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 31, 2019 at 7:06 am

TAKEN FROM DIRECTOR SILANO's FACEBOOK PAGE REGARDING THE LAST PAY RAISE.

IT APPEARS WE NEED TO CHANGE STATE LAW! THESE REASONS APPEAR TO BE IN LINE WITH GOOD LEADERSHIP AND BUDGET REVIEW:

My Reasons to Approve the Current Fire Labor Contract:

I stand by my comment in the Almanac; It's costly like everything else for local residents, I feel they should have the best services and the best firefighters around. We have that, and we can afford to pay for that"

My Reasons:

The 17 million dollars cost for 5 years:

It appears, the 6.7 million dollars would have been costs the fire agency would have inccurred anyway so 10. 3 million is the actual cost of the 5 year raise. That's, $2,060,000 a year,for 5 years.

Negotiations for the Current Contract:

There were many amount of meetings during the negotiations. In fact, we had our legal council and an independent consultant to be part of the negotiations team. All agreed upon by the enitre fire board.

A Review of Reserves, Surplus Tax Funds:

The last 5 years, the fire district had over 20 million dollars in surplus tax funds. This includes a reserve fund of over 45 million dollars.

CALPERS Debt:
A 39 million dollar debt. Way under all the community agencies we serve, and way below many of the members of the CALPERS system. If today, the district could pay off our CALPERS debt....Not many agencies can even come close to that future accomplishment. Let's not forget for the last 2 years we have paid down our CALPERS debt.

Per Cent of Salary on Budget:

A 67% of the total fire district budget.
This per cent is way below many agencies of the communities the fire district serves and many agencies in the cities, counties, and state.

Balanced Budget:

A balanced budget with a surplus of funding.

Member of US Department of Homeland Security ( FEMA), Task Force 3:

The Fire district uses these depolyments and training to enhance their skills to better serve the our community, state, and country. This is at no cost to the local propery taxpayers within the district. All costs are reinbursed by FEMA.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 31, 2019 at 8:31 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" then they spent roughly $16,000,000 more than than they took in last year"

Correct - and they did it because IN PRIOR YEARS they had set aside (Reserves) money for future obligations such as paying down pension liabilities and station replacements. That $16 M came from carefully planned and accumulated RESERVES.

It is called Finance 101.

The Fire District does its budgeting in the reverse of most local agencies - it first charges itself for depreciation and unfunded pension liabilities and then it constrains its current year spending to the remaining available revenues. Most local agencies spend every penny they get on current year operations and then when they need something like a new building they go back to the taxpayers with a bond issue or a parcel tax.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 31, 2019 at 8:48 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Inon:

Are you intentionally being obtuse or do you not really understand how reserves work?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 31, 2019 at 9:02 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Inon - please do your part and answer the questions that have been addressed to you. We cannot have a discussion if you refuse to answer questions and just keep expecting others to answer your questions.

Again:

Where in this list is the first MPFPD chief officer?
Web Link

Where in this list is the first MPFPD firefighter?
Web Link


Posted by lnon
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 31, 2019 at 9:22 am

So, Petey, they DID spend more than they took in last year. After all your yapping that they didn’t. As I said before , your little list doesn’t matter. In this case individuals don’t matter; groups do. The fact remains that we have the highest paid FD in the state ( and probably the country) and it’s Fire Department groupies and wannabes like you who made it so, with seeming little regard for the longer term financial consequences. I, and many other fiscally conservative fellow MP residents feel this way.


Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2019 at 11:34 am

Inon: Your last comment was not only disrespectful & snarky, but it also was not convincing since it was devoid of facts and documentation. Mr. Carpenter presented data, what did you do to bolster your argument?


Posted by inon
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 31, 2019 at 2:02 pm

Read the article about the department being the highest paid FD in the state for what, 3 or 4 of the last 5 years? What’s not a fact.

Over and out—-done here


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 31, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Inon - please understand that we are troubled by your unwillingness/inability to bring new facts to this discussion. Reciting what is in the article accomplishes nothing.


Posted by lnon
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 31, 2019 at 2:53 pm

Well, Pete, you keep throwing lists of FD pay for individuals, which is pretty meaningless (and nothing new there). I keep referring to the desire to do something about having the highest paid FD in the state, year in and year out, with subsequent high pension costs. Year in and year out. Don’t see anything new from you either, other than supporting the status quo, which seems to be what got us in this mess to begin with. I guess establishment types never like to see their empires reduced or questioned. I do get it.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 31, 2019 at 3:52 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Inon:

what "mess" are you referring to? The MPFPD is one of the best fiscally managed government organizations in the state. Care to provide an example of any that are better? [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] Show us you're right. The fact is in one year the department spent more than they took in. But, here's the thing, the reason they were able to do that was that they spent less than they took in for many years so in that one year when they needed to spend more than they took in that particular year, they could. Get it now? [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 31, 2019 at 5:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Our community is well served by having an intelligent and informed discussion of these issues.

Here is the Fire District's latest budget:

Web Link

Note:
"The Board places a high priority on closely monitoring the impact of local economic
conditions on the District’s finances, and upon the District’s ability to maintain current
service levels, meet infrastructure needs, and to build and maintain healthy reserve balances.
The budget preparation and adoption process is guided by several fundamental fiscal tenets:
 Ongoing operating expenditures are to be paid with ongoing operating revenues.
 Services provided by District Staff that have a cost recovery element should be as
close to 100 percent cost recovery as is feasible.
 Alternate revenue sources such as grants are encouraged with the caveat that the
associated expenditures have a limited life equal to that of the revenue source.
 Paid time off balances, such as annual leave, will be funded at 100 percent pay out
values per Memorandum(s) of Understanding and compensation and benefit plans
effective at the end of each fiscal year.
The District has incorporated these tenets into its fiscal strategies and uses them to set fiscally
responsible short and long-term goals. The District also continues to provide a high level of
reliable service to the public. Despite the recent difficult economic conditions, the District’s
reserves are healthy and its long-term financial outlook is strong. No fire stations were closed
and no fire engines were taken out of service. Employees have not been laid off or furloughed
and service levels have been maintained. Effective leadership and prudent fiscal practices
continue to ensure that the community the District serves will receive the service level that
it has come to expect."

The external audit of the Fire District's financial reports:
Web Link

The District's Fund Balance Policy
Web Link

Note:
"The Menlo Park Fire Protection District (the District) believes that sound financial management
principles require that sufficient funds be retained by the District to provide a stable financial base
at all times. To retain this stable financial base, the District needs to maintain a General Fund
Balance sufficient to fund all cash flows of the District, to provide financial reserves for
replacement of fixed assets such as apparatus and equipment, unanticipated expenditures and/or
revenue shortfalls due to unfavorable economic conditions or emergencies, set aside funds to work
towards the paydown of the District’s CalPERS Unfunded Actuarial Liability (UAL) and to
provide funds for all opportunities that require an expenditures/reimbursement process.
The District’s reporting and communication relating to fund balance reserves will utilize the
classifications outlined in generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The District hereby
establishes and will maintain reserves of fund balances, as defined herein, in accordance with
Governmental Accounting and Financial Standards Board Statement No. 54 (GASB 54), Fund
Balance Reporting and Governmental Fund Type Definitions. This policy will ensure that the
District maintains adequate fund balances and reserves in order to:
a) Ensure sufficient funding to support the District’s short-term and long-term operating
objectives.
b) Limit adverse annual and multi-year budgetary impacts from anticipated and unanticipated
expenditures or revenue shortfalls and thereby stabilizing services fees and changes.
c) Cover current outstanding liabilities or fund actuarial unfunded liabilities.
d) Build and maintain the financial resiliency of the District. "


Posted by Dear Peter
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 1, 2019 at 1:03 pm

Dear Peter,

It is time for you and others to step down.

I appreciate your attempt to educate others, and to accomplish much with an enormous budget, but you are clearly not representing the will of the voters. You have lost the public will. Responding to each and every comment here with more facts will not change the majority opinion.

Please stop responding to every comment, and think about how to better represent the people you represent.

Many thanks for your service.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 1, 2019 at 1:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Dear Peter - Relax. I am no longer a Fire District Director.

I now hold the highest office in the land - Citizen.

And I will speak out when I wish and in doing so I only represent myself and the facts that I present.


Posted by George Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 1, 2019 at 5:53 pm

George Fisher is a registered user.

The disparity between Fire Department Budgets and school budgets is exacerbated by an inequitable division of Property Taxes in connection with Proposition 13 . Easy to pay Firefighters within MPFD allocation, , tough to pay school teachers within School district allocation. Interim adjustments don't solve differences. Time for change?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 1, 2019 at 6:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Web Link

AB 8 Shift.
The AB 8 long term solution for the bailout program used to alleviate the effects of the
property tax shortfall consisted of a one time adjustment (“shift”), which created a new
property tax base for each local agency. Each county’s, city’s and special district’s share
of property taxes was increased by an adjusted amount of its’ 1978/79 block grant and
school districts’ property tax shares were reduced by the same aggregate amount.
Schools’ share of the total property tax base declined from over 50 percent to 36 percent.
School reductions were replaced with state funding.
The property tax base for each local agency was adjusted as follows. Cities received
added property taxes equal to 82.91 percent of the city’s 1978/79 block grant. Special
districts received added property taxes equal to 95.24 percent of the district’s 1978/79
block grant.


Posted by George Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 1, 2019 at 8:40 pm

George Fisher is a registered user.

So-o-o,fire district is rich, allowing good proportion of firefighters to be paid over $300,000, and school teachers are left far behind, struggling to subsist. Seems inequitable to me. Time for change?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 1, 2019 at 8:56 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If you want a change in the property tax allocation then look to the state legislature not the fire board.

And it will never happen.

In the meantime the fire board will continue to provide the best services that it can with its SB 8 allocated revenues.


Posted by Property Tax Payer
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 1, 2019 at 10:04 pm

Peter: Never say never!


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 2, 2019 at 6:07 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

You are right - never is too strong.

In my opinion the tax allocations established by Prop 13 and AB 8 will not change anytime in the next ten years even if the teeny, tiny Town of Atherton continues to waste taxpayers money to try to change those statewide allocations.


Posted by Mark Wilson
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 2, 2019 at 12:59 pm

Another way to look at these salaries is as a percentage of the property values of MP. By that measure perhaps these salaries are no more out of line than a realtor whose compensation continues to rise as the value of properties bought and sold increase. After all taxpayers who own property are also increasing their wealth in these times of increasing property values. Why should not responders who put their lives at risk for the property owners also benefit.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 2, 2019 at 7:44 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

@markwilson:

Very good point. The realtors work no harder to sell the properties when they were at a lower value. And firefighters provide an actual value in relation the the property value.


Posted by MPCSD/Atherton resident
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 3, 2019 at 3:58 pm

MPCSD/Atherton resident is a registered user.

So, who is up for contacting our state legislators to request a change to the Prop 13/ AB 8 distributions that have resulted in ridiculous inequities in the funding of our fire district vs. the area school districts?

If enough of us contact our representatives, change may be possible! Below are links to our State Senator's (Jerry Hill) email contact page and our State Assemblyman's, (Marc Berman) contact page.

Web Link
Web Link

If you care about this issue, send these guys your thoughts! And, get your neighbors to, also! Unfortunately, just preaching to the choir on this forum will accomplish very little. A new board could freeze fire district salaries but the fire district reserves will just keep accumulating while the schools continue to be woefully underfunded.

Change needs to start somewhere, be a part of it! And, If you're so inclined, click like to show you're going to take action.


Posted by Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 3, 2019 at 8:24 pm

Atherton resident:

Don’t waist your time contacting your state representatives. It is what it is.....


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 3, 2019 at 8:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Prop 13 was passed by the voters and it can only be changed by the voters.

Given how many people derive great benefit from Prop 13 I predict the chances of getting even one state legislator to put her/his name on a constitutional amendment to repeal Prop 13 is zero.

Changing the AB 8 post Prop 13 tax allocations would mean disadvantaging some agencies in order to benefit others - a can of worms that no legislator wants to touch because once you open the debate everything is on the table.

Wise agencies concentrate on maximizing the services that they can provide with the resources that the have been dealt by Prop 13/AB 8 and they leave trying to change the California Constitution and/or the law to the fringe elements like the Atherton Town Council.


Posted by John Ullom
a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2019 at 12:56 pm

"Our community is well served by having an intelligent and informed discussion of these issues."

True. How it that intresrt seved by your casual insults? You wronte, "fringe elements like the Atherton Town Council,".

[Portion removed; don't attack other posters.]


Posted by John Ullom
a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2019 at 12:59 pm

Illeism: -- Web Link


Posted by Gann Limit
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 4, 2019 at 3:20 pm

If the citizens want to limit how much money flows into the fire district, they can vote no on the next MPFD Gann Limit override measure. The next vote will likely be in November.

The Gann Limit was instituted by California in 1979 to limit spending growth in state and local government agencies. It limits the spending growth rate to the cost of living and population percentage increases only. If a local agency does not get voter consent to spend in excess of the Gann Limit, it is required to refund the money back to taxpayers.

The fire district has been over this limit for a long time now. It has requested approval for spending over the Gann Limit every four years for as long as I can remember. And the voters approve the limit override every time since there's never any organized opposition.

Here's the last MPFD Gann Limit Override (Measure Y) from 2015:
Web Link

If a group of MPFD residents believe the fire district spends too much, they can organize a campaign against the next measure.


Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 4, 2019 at 5:03 pm

Wow, 76 "comments" and 28 of them from Peter Carpenter.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 4, 2019 at 8:10 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

whatever:

ya, whatever. Someone that responds with facts. God forbid.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 4, 2019 at 8:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The last time an increase in the Gann limit of the Fire District was voted on it received 79% approval.

People approve of the quality of services provided by the Fire district and know that changing the Gann limit has zero impact on their property taxes.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 4, 2019 at 9:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

BTW The FY 18-19 Gann Appropriations Limit is $130,040,130 which is more than twice the District's current annual expenditures.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 5, 2019 at 2:53 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Describing the Atherton Town Council as a fringe element is not a casual insult but rather is descriptive of the fact that they are the only agency that has spent tens of thousands of tax payers dollars on an attempt to change the property tax allocation system even AFTER having been told by experts that doing so was something that the Town could not do.