The new standalone fire department proposed by Directors Alifano, Mackintosh, and Riddell will be short-staffed from Day One, will rely heavily on overtime, and will cost at least $7 million more than CAL FIRE over the next five years.
This is according to the documentation provided in the October 18 Coastside Fire Protection District Board Packet.
Attachment D (page 23) shows staffing requirements. We currently have 35 full-time CAL FIRE firefighters staffing our fire stations. CAL FIRE firefighters work longer hours for less pay than would the firefighters of the proposed new standalone fire department. The last round of expensive consultants showed we would need approximately 42 firefighters working shorter hours to provide the same amount of coverage as we currently get from CAL FIRE. Yet attachment D’s budget covers only 34.5 full-time firefighters.
Attachment E (page 25) of the board packet shows the projected 5-year costs for this new, short-staffed, standalone fire department at $42.4 million. Last year’s actual expenses with CAL FIRE were $6.66 million. Assuming that CAL FIRE’s costs rise 2% per year over the next 5 years, the CAL FIRE 5-year cost would total $35.4 million.
The new, short-staffed fire department will cost on average at least $1.4 million more per year than CAL FIRE over the next five years.
Update: the CFPD budget presented on October 18, 2012 was poorly done and did not add up. The October 18 Board Presentation did not specify amounts for overtime in the annual budget (10/18/12 attachment D), but did include $600k annually for overtime in the 5 year plan (10/18/12 attachment E). There was no way of knowing this looking at the budget as presented. This was clarified a month later in the November 24, 2012 Board Presentation – see 11/24 attachment B.