Town Square

Menlo Park fire election: 4 qualified so far

Original post made on Aug 12, 2013

Four out of five prospective candidates have now qualified for the upcoming election for three seats on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District board of directors. Filing deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 12, 2013, 9:09 AM


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 12, 2013 at 10:41 am

Thank you for you service to our community and the Fire District Messrs. Nachtheim and Ianson.

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Posted by correction
a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Any incumbent that did not file by Friday's deadline is out. The extension is only for non-incumbents.

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Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Thank you for pointing that out. The county is apparently still updating its website, as the roster as of 11:07 a.m. today now indicates that Rex Ianson has qualified.

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Posted by anne
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 12, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Don't give the fire fighters raises. They make more than college professors and doctors right now. Their medical and pensions are sky high, also. In fact, their union 2400 is always grabbing for extra money.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 13, 2013 at 9:32 am

Unfortunately the FF union spent more than $85,000 in the last election, I'll let you draw your own conclusions.......

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Posted by concerned
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 13, 2013 at 4:22 pm

How many of our readers are mentally and physically fit to put their life on the line every time
they go out the door knowing they may not come home ? Let's count the hands !! Remember
the 19 HotShot Fire Fighters who went on a call and never came home, last month, or the 2
SF Fire Fighters who tragically died in that house fire, or the 14 FF's who died in texas or the
4 Houston FF that died in Houston..We forgot what expectations we put on our first responders, Fire police, EMS..Let's not forget the World Trade Center, 343 first responders
never came home to their families..No I am not a FF or Board member or PD, just someone
who looks at things logically..Are salaries,pensions high, probably so, but so are the demands
and risk of the job that we instill upon these people..When was the last time someone who works in a an office died in "their line of duty" ? I am waiting for a number folks !!!

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 13, 2013 at 4:58 pm

@Concerned -- while you may have a point, let's put this into perspective.

I'm not denying that being a firefighter doesn't have its risks, that's part of the job. But the average FF in Menlo Park makes around $126,000 in salary and benefits. Let's compare that to the soldiers and Marines who are in harm's way in various places around the world. A sergeant in the Army with 6 years of experience makes about $33,000/year and a lance corporal in the Marine Corps with 4 years of experience makes about $2000/month.

What do you think is a fair salary for a firefighter?

Believe me I remember, I wore a uniform at an earlier time in my life. I enjoyed my job, was honored to serve my community, and appreciated the paycheck I received!

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Not so fast concerned. Based on the findings of the attached report on dangerous jobs, fire fighters don't even make the list. Cops do, but they are less likely to be fatally injured on the job than construction laborers or truck drivers and I think we all know how they're paid.

Here's the list in order of most fatal to less:

Farm occupations
Construction laborers
Supervisors, proprietors, sales
Nonconstruction laborers
Police, detectives, and supervisors
Airplane Pilots
Taxicab drivers
Timber cutters
Groundkeepers and gardeners
Welders and cutters
Auto mechanics
Structural metal workers
Electric Power Install/rprs

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Web Link

The math as far as what we should be paying fire fighters and police is pretty simple. When you have 100 qualified applicants or more for every job opening you're paying more than you need to.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 13, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

1 - The pilot of Air Force One is a USAF Colonel usually with 20-25 years of service.

His base pay is $11,007.30/month or $132,087 /year

He also receives about $500/month or $6000/year of flight pay

He supervises a crew of approximately 26 (not including the Secret Service agents accompanying the President).

He can retire with 2.5% of the average of his last three years base pay for each year of service but capped at 75%.

2 - a US Forest Service Smokejumper ( a firefighter who parachutes from airplanes to put out forest fires) are in GS-5 to GS-9 pay grades and start as $27,026/year and top out at $53,234/year at the top step level for non- supervisory ( includes crew chiefs but not management level) smokejumpers

MEDICAL AND PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: Smokejumper duties present unusual hazards and require that personnel be in excellent physical condition and possess a high degree of emotional stability and mental alertness. The health of individuals must be such that they have the capacity to meet demands for performance in the position and for human reliability. Before entrance on duty, and periodically during employment, smokejumpers must undergo a medical exam, physical conditioning, and an adeptness test. Failure to meet any of the required standards will be considered disqualifying for employment or a basis of termination. The adeptness test will be given in one time period and consists of performing 25 push-ups, 45 sit-ups, 7 chin-ups, and a 1.5-mile run which must be completed in 11 minutes or less. In addition to the work capacity test at the arduous level (as referenced under Other Significant Facts), a smokejumper pack-out test is required and consists of completing a 3-mile hike over level ground carrying a 110 pound pack in 90 minutes or less. The health of individuals must be such that they have the capacity to meet the demands for human reliability and performance in the position.

3 -Maj. Jennifer Grieves is the first female helicopter aircraft commander in the history of Marine One, the HMX-1 helicopter the president of the United States flies on. She makes about $84,000 and she can retire with 2.5% of the average of her last three years base pay for each year of service but capped at 75%.

4 - NASA's civilian astronauts are in the GS-11 through GS-14 pay grades, based on academic achievements and experience. Currently, a GS-11 astronaut starts at $59,493 per year; a GS-14 astronaut can earn up to $130,257 per year. To date 13 out of 321 who have flown in space have died in the line of duty or a fatality rate of about 4%.

In comparison, the firefighters in our District get paid on average over $130,000 in salary and benefits.

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Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 14, 2013 at 7:37 am

Out of the 4 candidates who qualified for the ballot two are eminently qualified. These are: Rex Ianson and Chuck Bernstein. They are fiscally conservative Democrats who are fair and impartial.

Nelson might as well be a Union Representative and Clarke is sitting on the fence of fiscal responsibility trying to decide which way to go. Perhaps in the coming months she will solidify her position.