Five Cities Fire Authority set to raise pay, give bonuses

May 12, 2020

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Five Cities Fire Authority board is slated to approve pay raises and bonuses for all fire personnel on Friday, an item listed on the consent agenda. This is occurring at a time many public agencies are voting to reduce pay and lay off employees.

If passed, fire authority employees will receive a 2 percent pay increase effective May 15, and a one-time lump sum payment of $1,000, which is listed as in lieu of retroactive pay increases.

In April, the board directed its negotiating team to present its last best and final proposal for an agreement with the employee union.

The annual increase will cost the fire authority $49,700, with the charges to be passed onto member agencies: Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and the Oceano Community Services District, all of which are currently facing financial hardships because of the pandemic.

In an effort to stay in the fire authority, Oceano recently attempted to raise taxes, but the ballot measure failed. It is likely Oceano will divest its interest in the fire authority, and begin negotiations with the county to take over its fire department services.

Currently, Arroyo Grande is facing a $1.2 million budget shortfall and Grover Beach is $700,000 in the red, for the current fiscal year.

The board is scheduled to meet on Friday at 10 a.m., by video conference. While the agenda does not include information on how the public can participate remotely during the meeting, the public is permitted to email comments to the fire authority.


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If the very small and dense City of Pismo Beach can contract with CalFire so can the FCFA areas after its dissolution. Multiple levels of duplicitous staffing, management, and equipment could be eliminated. But the proponents will whine about “loss of local control”, meaning their political and personally lucrative micromanagement positions of authority. Well then maybe each city and area needs their own hospital facility, staff and administration, their own health departments, independent public transit systems and many other functions performed at a regional level. Public Works and Police Departments could be consolidated as well with individual cities and CSD making budgeting and planning decisions reflecting their constituent’s priorities.

Firefighters (city) are some of the *best* politicians around.

Their timing is terrible…

For them their timing is perfect, no one can attend the meeting in person, they provide no reasonable way for the public to make negative comments at the meeting, most people are dealing with just trying to keep their job and figure out how to survive. The FCFA figure this ridiculous raise would just sneak through.

They are America’s heroes and should be able set their own salaries, despite the fact that their very high paying jobs require only a high school education and on the rare occasion that they’re not cooking, sleeping, or working out on the clock, their job is significantly less dangerous than that of a construction worker or convenience store clerk.

Good point! And let’s remember if you don’t pay them what they want your life may be in danger when you need them…

These people are lucky to have jobs, unlike 20% of their fellow Californians who are now on unemployment AND still have to pay taxes to support these people. Moreover, a lot of these firefighters have second jobs so they are not hurting. It is unconscionable that any public employee (or elected official) could be getting a raise at this time. Shame on you!

Haha, you tax payers get the services you voted for. Now you will pay for that gold plated Fire Department.