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Big changes in firefighter work practices, benefits

Original post made on Oct 30, 2011

Major changes are coming in work practices and benefits for firefighters with the Menlo Park Fire Protection District.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, October 30, 2011, 9:12 PM

Comments (138)

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 30, 2011 at 10:29 pm

While our fire fighters do fine work, it's time their salaries and benefits start to align with many other industries. Bay Area fire fighters are some of the highest paid in the country. It may not be a popular vote among the union, but my compliments to the Board members who voted in favor of these changes. It seems to fall in line with the Measure L that Menlo Park residents voted for overwhelmingly.

Does Mr. Ianson really think these changes were that harsh? Frankly, they still have their jobs and benefits. There are places that are laying folks off and greatly reducing benefits. According to the article, there would be no reductions for current employees. Who knows what Nelson's reasons were other than he was backed by the union in his election.

It would make sense that the chief has the ability to manage the fire department as the person in charge does in most businesses.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 31, 2011 at 8:09 am

The 3-2 vote on this crucial issue underscores why the firefighters' union is spending so much money trying to get a union endorsed majority on the Fire Board.

Hopefully the voters will ignore these efforts and elect a Board that fully supports the Fire Chief - and then the union will finally decide to do what unions are supposed to do - negotiate on behalf of their members.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2011 at 10:09 am

The 3-2 vote on this shows a sneaky attempt by the board to force something a week before election day. Was there worry the board would change to fair hands and the vote would go differently? I am anxious to see how the PERB complaint rules; I have been waiting for a fair shake for BOTH sides, and it seems this was just a bitter attack just days away from the election. Why was this such a rush????


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 31, 2011 at 11:00 am

Pat --

Interesting perspective. My guess is the fire department has been working on trying to be more efficient for some time. As I understand things, it was the union which walked away from the negotiating table, and all PERB can do is tell the parties to return to negotiating.

You may wonder if this was timed for the election. In a comment article in today's Daily Post, it says that the union has contributed more than $33,000 to Rob Silano's election. Not sure how much he has spent on his own, but there was an article in the Almanac if you wanted to see who's trying to buy this election, follow the money trail.

Really $33,000+ for a local fire election?!


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Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2011 at 11:15 am

Bob,
I thought they walked away from the table also, however the way I understand it with the facts is that the union is claiming "unfair negotiations" and once they step to the table they potentially void their complaint. I understand now why they won't sit down with those who are not fairly bargaining. I also learned the district has spent well over $2 million of OUR TAX MONEY to fight this union, and it seems a resolve would have been much cheaper for us. All I'm asking is to hear both sides- not just Peter Carpenter's biased opinion.
Really $2,000,000 + to fight the union?!


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Posted by three time winner
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2011 at 12:09 pm

So the bottom line is that voters should Not vote for union endorsed candidates like Virginia.


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Posted by three time winner
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Board member, Rex Ianson is siding with the firefighters. He was a firefighter for years; so, he clearly has a conflict of interest. I think he is on your Nov. Ballot, too.


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Posted by James
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Hey three time loser,
Maybe you should stop thinking.
You clearly are not an informed voter. You don't even know who is on the ballot for fire board.
Shame on you.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 31, 2011 at 1:33 pm

The Fire District has spent about 600k responding to frivolous law suits filed by the union;if there had been no law suits these funds would have been spent on providing services to the community.

There is nothing in the law that precludes the firefighters union from returning to the negotiations - they continue to demand an 11% wage increase as a PRECONDITION for coming back to the table - a demand that the Board has wisely declined. This union defines unfair negotiations as not giving them whatever they want while other firefighters' unions around the State are negotiating concessions and pension changes.

Be thankful that you have a Board that is committed to serving the citizens rather than being beholden to the union.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 31, 2011 at 1:40 pm

It may be useful to have the facts before commenting:

RESOLUTION OF THE MENLO PARK FIRE
PROTECTION DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS APPROVING
AMENDMENTS AND IMPROVEMENTS TO CURRENT DISTRICT PRACTICES
AND POLICIES AFFECTING SAFETY EMPLOYEES
WHEREAS, the labor agreement (hereafter "Memorandum of Understanding" or
"MOU") between the Menlo Park Fire Protection District (hereafter "District") and the Menlo
Park Firefighters' Association, IAFF Local 2400 (hereafter "Union"), expired on June 30, 2008;
and
WHEREAS, since June 30, 2008, the Union and the District have been unable to reach
agreement on a successor MOU; and following numerous invitations by the District to negotiate
a new contract, all of which were declined by the Union, necessary changes required the District
to declare impasse and impose terms and conditions of employment—including a $9,000 per
year increase to the District's contribution toward the health and welfare benefit plan for each
employee; and
WHEREAS, the Board strives to make sound and reasoned decisions regarding District
resources that properly account for current conditions and also ensure the District's ability to
provide quality and efficient service to the community in the future; and
WHEREAS, the following changes are made pursuant to the District's Labor Relations
Policy and Plan (attached as Exhibit A), as well as the District's Compensation Philosophy
(attached as Exhibit B), — for example, all changes are consistent with principles of fairness,
transparency, fiscal sustainability and accountability; and
WHEREAS, the Fire Chief has recommended that various District practices and
policies be amended and improved to ensure that the District is acting efficiently pursuant to
best practices; and
WHEREAS, the changes are designed such that no employee will see a reduction in
their gross hourly rate; and
WHEREAS, on September 21, 2011, the District invited the Union to meet and confer,
and sent a list of initial proposals that encompassed the issues covered by this resolution, for
purposes of negotiating a comprehensive successor MOU; and
WHEREAS, by letter dated September 29, 2011, the Union—through its legal
counsel—advised that the Union would "not resume negotiations with the District," and made
any negotiations contingent on the District proposing a salary increase; and 2
WHEREAS, the Union has previously declined numerous invitations to return to the
bargaining table to negotiate with the District; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Directors of the Menlo
Park Fire Protection District that the following provisions are effective immediately upon
adoption of this resolution:
Affirmation of District Policy
1. The District reaffirms its Labor Relations Policy and Plan (attached as Exhibit A),
as well its Compensation Policy (attached as Exhibit B). This resolution is intended to
implement these District policies.
MMBA Compliance
2. The District reaffirms its commitment to observe the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act
("MMBA"), and to meet and confer with labor regarding all matters within the scope of
representation. Notwithstanding the Union's refusal to negotiate—to date—the District invites
the Union to meet and confer concerning any impacts stemming from this Resolution.
Furthermore, all items in this resolution that are mandatory subjects of bargaining shall be
subject to future negotiation when the Union chooses to return to the bargaining table to
negotiate a successor memorandum of understanding.
Rank Structure
3. The District hereby adopts the following classifications for non-management
safety personnel:
Firefighter-Academy
Firefighter-Trainee
Firefighter-Probationary
Firefighter-EMT
Firefighter-Paramedic
Engineer-EMT
Engineer-Paramedic
Captain-EMT
Captain-Paramedic
Senior Inspector 3
All other job classifications covering fire suppression personnel are hereby deleted. Incumbents
in any classification which is deleted shall be re-classified in one of the foregoing classifications
according to their credentials. For example, Firefighters who hold paramedic certification shall
be classified as "Firefighter-Paramedic," Firefighters who possess a valid EMT certificate shall
be classified as "Firefighter-EMT," and so on. This rank structure facilitates the District's
elimination of separate pay premiums, consistent with its Labor Relations Policy and Plan.
Wages
4. The hourly rate schedules applicable to non-management classifications, and
monthly salaries for Battalion Chiefs and Division Chiefs, are set forth in Exhibit C to this
resolution. Any increases or decrease in the hourly rate and salary schedules shall be subject to
approval by the Board of Directors.
5. The Fire Chief shall "y" rate any incumbent who would otherwise suffer a base
wage reduction by virtue of this resolution.
6. The Fire Chief shall have the authority to establish regular pay periods, and to
declare any appropriate work period under Section 7K of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Unless
the Fire Chief institutes a different schedule, pay days shall be bi-monthly—on the 15th day and
the last day of each month.
7. Supplemental Earnings: All "Supplemental Earnings" (formerly referred to as
"Acting Pays") are set forth in Exhibit D attached hereto.
8. The eligibility of new hire firefighters (Firefighter-Academy, Firefighter-Trainee
and Firefighter-Probationary) for wages and benefits is set forth in Exhibit E attached hereto.
Health and Welfare Benefits
9. The Fire Chief shall maintain a simple health and benefit program that is
transparent and easily understood by the public. A summary of the benefits program is attached
hereto as Exhibit F.
10. Consolidation of Leave: In order to promote transparency and administrative
efficiency, the District shall phase out the multiple leave balances and implement a single Annual
Leave program for those ranks specified in paragraph 3. As part of the District's effort to
minimize long term fiscal liabilities, the annual leave cap for all 56 hour employees shall be 480
hours; for all 40 hour Senior Inspector employees, the cap shall be 320 hours. All annual leave
hours currently held by any employee in excess of the applicable cap will be cashed out. Details
regarding the program are included in Exhibit G attached hereto. All remaining Extended Sick
Leave (ESL) hours will be converted to 25% of their current balance and added to the
employee's annual leave bank (subject to the cap of 480), with any excess hours deposited to the
employee's PEHP account. 4
11. Retiree Medical Program: For current retirees already receiving a retiree medical
benefit, the benefit shall remain unchanged. For employees hired on or after January 1, 2012,
the District shall no longer make a separate contribution to retiree health. For current safety
employees, the Fire Chief shall implement a buy-out plan as set forth in Exhibit H attached
hereto. Current safety employees shall be required to select one of the options included in the
buy-out plan, and if they fail to make an election, amounts will be paid in cash.
12. Educational Reimbursement Program: The Fire Chief has sole discretion to
approve or deny reimbursement requests and to determine whether a particular training or class
is or is not beneficial to the District. The Fire Chief shall approve only such requests as the
Chief deems beneficial to the District.
Retirement
13. New Hires: The Fire Chief shall consider options for developing a "second tier"
retirement program for employees hired on or after January 1, 2012; the options to be
considered shall include both lower level defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans
(such as a 401k). The Fire Chief shall report his findings and recommendation to the Board.
14. Current Employees: Current employees shall pay 75% of any future increases to
the CalPERS employer contribution rate (over the current 25.821%), subject to any applicable
CalPERS rules or restrictions.
Miscellaneous Operational Issues
15. Holiday Work Schedule: There is no modified holiday work schedule for 56 hour
employees. Employees shall adhere to daily and weekly work schedules as determined by the
Fire Chief.
16. Senior Inspectors:
In order to improve the efficiency and increase the number of productive hours, the
work day for Senior Inspectors shall begin at 7:00 a.m. Each employee shall take a mandatory
staggered minimum lunch, which is unpaid, of thirty minutes. Paid exercise time for Senior
Inspectors is eliminated. Senior Inspectors are exempt from the Wellness Program.
17. In accordance with District needs and the corresponding organization of Station
responsibilities, the position of "adjutant" is hereby eliminated. The incumbent shall be
permitted to remain in this position until January 2, 2012.
18. The Fire Chief shall enforce a requirement that all emergency responders must be
able to return to the District within two hours. Current employees presently residing outside of
this requirement may be grandfathered in unless and until they change residences. All safety
employees hired on or after January 1, 2012, shall be subject to this requirement regardless of
current residence. 5
19. The Fire Chief is authorized to implement any practice that, in the Fire Chief's
discretion, enhances the delivery of services, creates efficiencies, improves accountability, or
enhances the health and safety of District personnel. These practices encompass, but are not
limited to: station bid cycles and rotations; assignments; selection of annual leave; trades;
prescheduled "back-fills;" and daily and weekly work schedules. The Fire Chief may implement
any provision encompassed within the District's September 21, 2011, proposal to "maximize
efficiencies in the work schedule." (This proposal is attached hereto as Exhibit I.)
20. The District confirms that it is not bound indefinitely by any provision in the
MOU that expired on June 30, 2008. With respect to future new proposals within the scope of
representation that are not encompassed by this resolution, the Union shall be given the
opportunity to meet and confer as required by State law. With respect to proposals for changes
to matters within the scope of representation encompassed by this resolution, the Union shall be
given the opportunity to meet and confer over impacts as required by State law. Except for
disciplinary appeals, the grievance procedure in the expired MOU is suspended unless and until
the parties reach formal agreement on a successor MOU that contains a grievance procedure.
Employees may continue to avail themselves of the grievance procedure set forth in Policy No.
305, unless and until that policy is amended. (A copy of the current policy is attached hereto as
Exhibit J.)
21. The Fire Chief shall revise the District's personnel and operational policy
manuals. These policies shall be subject to meet and confer, when required by law, but shall
not be subject to the District's impasse resolution procedure.
22. The Fire Chief is hereby empowered to take any actions necessary in the Fire
Chief's discretion to implement the terms of this resolution.
23. If any provision in this resolution is found to be invalid or otherwise
unenforceable, all remaining provisions shall remain in full force and effect. This resolution is
subject to amendment by the Board of Directors pursuant to District policy and State law.
I HEREBY CERTIFY that the above and foregoing resolution was passed and
adopted by the Board of Directors of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District at its special
meeting held on the 28th of October, 2011,


 +   Like this comment
Posted by WhoRupeople
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Getting back to the article and to what the Fire Board empowered the Chief to do. Thank you to the Board members that voted in favor of these initiatives. Precisely the right things to do. To the issue of the upcoming election, I make it a personal rule not to tell others how they should vote, but I have no problem letting people know how I am going to vote. Union endorsements are legal and the right of the unions--but they do not have to be accepted. I do not vote for candidates who accept such endorsements, period.


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Posted by Walter
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 31, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Peter
Is it not the fire boards responsibility as elected by the citizens to serve not only the citizsens and community but that of the fire districts employees as well?
As I understand it the current fire board up to just recently had refused to talk to the firefights union and had informed newley elected board members not to communicate with firefighters as well.
Now the fire board keeps asking the firefighter to negotiate.
As a former attorney, I now that the unions PERB complaint would not have been reviewed unless it did in fact have some substance and was not firvolous.
2 millon or 600k whats the difference really? It apperars the Fire District is letting attorneys make dicissions rather that the Fire Chief of the Fire Board themselfs.
What a waste of my tax dollars and vote.
Sounds like the citizens of the fire district need and deserve an entirely new Fire Board, Fire Chief and perspective.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 31, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Walter - The Board has no business being involved in negotiations. The Board has long ago appointed its negotiators; the union simply refuses to meet with those negotiators. The union would like to have a Board which ignores its own negotiators and which engages in direct discussions with the union - which would violate both the law and good management practice.

PERB is obligated to review ANY charge submitted and their review does not confer any legitimacy on the merits of the charge.


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Posted by 3Xwinner
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2011 at 2:27 pm

The employees have a union! Should former fire fighters be on fire boards? No, it's a conflict of interest. Should candidates take endorsements from unions? No. Quid pro quo.

The board is representing the taxpayers. Pure and simple--try it!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm

3Xwinner -- that's why I'm not voting for either Silano or Kiraly. They accepted the union's endorsement.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 31, 2011 at 4:11 pm

The following Board Policy was adopted after two public hearings and in the absence of any public comment:


5.12 Collective Bargaining Agreement
It is the policy of the District Board to engage in discussions for the purpose of reaching agreements with recognized employee groups (Represented Safety, Represented Miscellaneous, Unrepresented Safety, Unrepresented Confidential and Chief Officers), as required in the Meyers Milas-Brown Act. The District Board should not directly engage in negotiations itself but reserves the right to delegate to:
(1) The Fire Chief
(2) A contract negotiator
(3) A designee

the responsibility of negotiating with employee groups. During contract negotiations a Board member should limit communication with the bargaining group on matters pertaining to the negotiation. Board members shall not negotiate directly with represented labor groups and cannot agree to anything as an individual or on behalf of the Board while bargaining is underway.
****************

Perhaps Walter can explain why he would ignore such a policy and instead engage in legally prohibited 'bypass' negotiations.


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Posted by Fedup
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 31, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Has anyone ever considered,that the union endorsed candidates might
just be a more balanced thinkers ! 3 of the current board members are definately anti union while the remaining 2 are not. Has it occured to anyone that the 2 board members who voted against this resolution, in fact not opposed to the concept of it, but rather to the way some of it was implimented! Yes, this was railroaded through, because the chief knew he had the votes to carry it and yes it was a sham to slide this through before the election next week. One more week wouldn't have made any more difference and the new board members clearly show balanced thinking in their concerns !


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 31, 2011 at 9:32 pm

The two Board members who voted against this resolution were an individual who owes his election to the firefighters' union support and another who is a retired firefighter who expressed his concerns as a former firefighter.

The three Board members who voted for the resolution were not endorsed by the firefighters' union.

This proposal and the underlying policies has been the topic of both actions and discussions by the Board in public session for months and came to the table at this time solely because of the union's continued refusal to resume negotiations. I for one, as noted in the Almanac article, felt that the Board had a responsibility to act to ensure the proper management of the District. Please take the time to review the agendas and minutes of the Board and of its committees over the last three months to verify the facts.
Web Link


The union is betting with all of their dollars on a new Board which serves them and not the public.


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Posted by proverbs
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2011 at 10:11 pm

It is impossible to serve two masters. A union endorsed, elected board member has a conflict of interests. If elected to the board, they should recuse themselves from any matters regarding staff compensation.


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Posted by wap
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 1, 2011 at 9:22 am

Don't get overwhelmed by the details. Personnel are drastically over compensated. $4,000,000.00 spend to try to contain the costs is very acceptable. If the Board caves, then pandora's box once again will be open for those who wish to plunder the tax payor.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2011 at 10:01 am

"...These practices encompass, but are not limited to: station bid cycles and rotations; assignments; selection of annual leave; trades; prescheduled "back-fills;" and daily and weekly work schedules." These kind of forced changes a week before election day were clearly a power trip. None of these effect the public- they only hurt the firemen and their families- what is this board doing, other than causing chaos? What good business leader treats their employees like this? The public deserves this battle be over; $2million fighting the union with tax payer money is obsurd. And still, no one has answered why the board just approved 2 NEW ADMINISTRATIVE positions (HR and IT) at $250,000 in salaries alone, not including benefits, and their over inflated retirement. WHY?? You are wasting my tax paying dollars. Just because I don't show up at a board meeting to speak, does not mean you do not have to represent me.


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Posted by Malik
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 1, 2011 at 10:36 am

"None of these effect the public- they only hurt the firemen and their families"

This is absolutely not true. The changes address inefficiencies in the way the department operates (inefficiencies which the union fights to maintain because they work in the favor of the union membership by forcing last minute overtime, etc.) Removing these inefficiencies, which should not be there in any well run organization to begin with, saves the public money by getting us more for our tax dollar. Firefighters need to realize they are blessed to have a highly paid six figure job with benefits the average taxpayer can only dream of (not to mention paid idle time, 4-5 days off per week, no higher education requirement, taxpayer backed pension starting in the 50s whether the market goes up or down), and lose the sense of entitlement they've developed.

It is hypocritical to cite the $$ wasted by the city fighting frivolous lawsuits from the fire union as an example of the city wasting taxpayer money. The union is at fault for trying to use the courts to suppress the will of the voters.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:04 am

The changes noted above were the topic of both actions and discussions by the Board in public session for months and came to the table at this time solely because of the union's continued refusal to resume negotiations.

Please read the language in the resolution:

WHEREAS, on September 21, 2011, the District invited the Union to meet and confer,

and sent a list of initial proposals that encompassed the issues covered by this resolution, for

purposes of negotiating a comprehensive successor MOU; and

WHEREAS, by letter dated September 29, 2011, the Union—through its legal

counsel—advised that the Union would "not resume negotiations with the District," and made

any negotiations contingent on the District proposing a salary increase; and 2

WHEREAS, the Union has previously declined numerous invitations to return to the

bargaining table to negotiate with the District; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Directors of the Menlo

Park Fire Protection District that the following provisions are effective immediately upon

adoption of this resolution.

****************
As for the Board being 'anti-union' note that the Board has approved, after 15 days for public comment, an agreement with the AFSCME union ( a union well known for being very tough) representing the non-safety personnel that was the result of true negotiation. That agreement involved NO salary increases.

Firefighters's unions across the nation are negotiating either no salary or salary reductions. In this economic climate why does the MPFFA union insist on an 11% increase as a precondition for resuming negotiations? Why are they spending $50k in this election to get control of the Fire Board?


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Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:14 am

Peter,
The AFSME contract you extended had no clause for new hires to start at a different pension rate. You also allow them to take the difference $ in their health care home in CASH.
You allowed 2 new admin positions, at a cost of $250,000 + benefits, with no 2-tier retirement in place. You also gave the AFSME employees a cost of living raise a few times in the last few years- it says so on the website.
Also from the menlo fire website: (I don't see the chief salary listed?)
Classification Base Step #1 Base Top Step Salary EMT Paramedic Career D. Holiday Pay New Rate Uniform Salary:
Firefighter-EMT $26.16 $0.95 $1.34 $28.46
Firefighter-Paramedic $26.16 $0.95 $2.55 $1.47 $31.14
Engineer-EMT $33.52 $0.95 $1.70 $36.18
Engineer-Paramedic $33.52 $0.95 $2.55 $1.83 $38.86
Senior Inspector $54.10 N/A $54.10
Captain-Emt $38.65 $0.95 $1.96 $41.56
Captain-Paramedic $38.65 $0.95 $2.55 $2.08 $44.24
Battalion Chief $11,456 $572.80 $567.07 $75.00 $12,671
Division Chief $13,334 $666.70 $75.00 $14,076

$26 bucks for a fireman does not seem excessive. I guess we could have them work 9-5 like everyone else, and then if our houses catch fire or we have a heart attack, we could wait for them to be called out from home.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:30 am

The current base salaries and benefits and pensions are simply not equitable when compared to other similar positions in other well managed communities and certainly not when compared to compensation levels of the citizens whom they serve.

The Fire Board is engaged in a long term effort to realign salaries, benefits and pensions and these efforts are all conducted in public meetings to which Pat and others are invited to attend.

In my nine years on the Board I have heard fewer that 20 public comments and noted less than 50 public attendees in all of those years.


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Posted by Supporter of Chang Kiraly
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Virginia has a well known strong position about responsible financial commitments and appropriate benefits. She is very much in favor of pension reform.
While she accepted the union endorsement she did not accept their money. She can't be bought. I am voting for her.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I asked Virginia the following question:

" The union's web site says that they endorsed you because you "communicates with us about important issues." In the last round of negotiations with the union the union repeatedly attempted to circumvent the Board appointed negotiators by trying to 'communicate' with individual Board members. The Board debated this issue in public and decided that it was not in the best interest of the District for individual Board members to be 'communicating' with the union regarding the negotiations. Clearly wage and benefits are an 'important issue' to the union. So what will you do, if elected, when the union plays it's "communicates with us about important issues" card and asks you to bypass the Board appointed negotiators?"


Virginia declined to answer.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Pat -- might I suggest you talk with the other Board members and/or Fire Chief to understand more than can be outlined here. While there is some information in these threads and in newsprint, I'm sure the issues are much more complex.

For any resident, it may seem simple to say that management needs to just sit down with the union leadership and work it out. However, life experiences prove that relationships, in any form, can be challenging at times. This sounds like one of those times. I agree that something needs to be done.


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Posted by 3xwinner
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm

If she is influenced (she got their endorsement) by the union she needs to recuse herself from voting on ff/financial matters. BTW, unions have long memories and their emotions can "cut both ways"; i.e. if she turns on them, they may try to recall her.
I feel sorry for Virginia. She states she got involved in the race because of her children's school alarm system (very sweet intentions). She obviously felt good about the endorsement she got from the union. To me, she is a novice in political matters.


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Posted by Bad Bookkeeping
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm

What's this? Is this a FPPC Violation Virginia?

NOTICE AND AGENDA
Commission Meeting 1

428 J Street, Suite 800
Sacramento, CA 95814

Thursday, November 10, 2011
10:00 AM

1.In the Matter of Virginia Kiraly, FPPC No. 11/845. Staff: Political Reform Consultant Adrianne Korchmaros. Respondent Virginia Kiraly, Commissioner for the State of California Economic Development Commission, failed to timely file an annual Statement of Economic Interests for the reporting period of January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2010, due April 1, 2011, in violation of Government Code Section 87300 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $200.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm

3xwinner & Bad Bookkeeping --

Not sure the other union candidate is that "clean" either. In Monday's Daily Posts is an article that said the fire fighter's union has spent more than $33,000 on Rob Silano's campaign. The paper also stated that he has lived in Menlo Park and owns a business but doesn't have a local business license and has Florida plates on his classic Corvette.


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Posted by Bad bookkeeping
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 2, 2011 at 6:18 am

To Peter Carpenter: What do you say about Virginia's FPPC Violation, champion of the Brown Act?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bad bookkeeping
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 2, 2011 at 6:33 am

How can we trust Kiraly with our $$$ , when she can't even submit timely reports to the state. I have many questions:
1. Are all her current 460 forms properly filed out and reported? They should be audited now!
2. What other mistakes has she made just to get elected?
3. Will the Almanac and Post ask her about the FPPC Charges? I'm sure the Almanac will, but she is the Post's endorsement.....NOT.

These are red flags to all us voters!

The choice is simple!
Scott Barnum


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 2, 2011 at 8:27 am

1) An FPPC violation is not covered by the Brown Act,
2) and I am not knowledgable about the facts in the case in question.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bad bookkeeping
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 2, 2011 at 9:12 am

Peter, Are you interested in this FPPC pending violation? I thought you were our citizen watch dog? Do you care or does it not affect your personal agenda?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 2, 2011 at 9:19 am

Bad bookkeeping - you have no idea what is my personal agenda and your comment is a common cheap trick of the anonymous posters who hide in the shadows.

Any violation of the law by a public official should be of interest to ALL citizens and we should all proceed on the basis of innocent until proven guilty. In this case very few facts are know and it would be unwise to jump from an allegation to an assumed violation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by FED UP
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 2, 2011 at 12:51 pm

People, all of this unneccessary drama about labor endorsed or not endorsed candidates is rediculous. If you remember when the auto mfg'ers were going through hard times, the unions had to make many hard concessions ! One of the better decisions was to allow labor to be represented on their boards and bargining units ! Why should any
board make career effecting decisions for public safety personnel, when those people generally don't have a clue ! Just remember the 2
SF FF who died in a house fire back in Jan of '11, what kind of decisions were made for them and by whom ? We are asking these men & women to put their life on the line every day, why can't they be represented ? Who are we to play GOD with other people's lives. Labor is not as bad as the media makes them out to be, they are human like you and I..


 +   Like this comment
Posted by FED Up
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm

So what does FPPC Violation mean ? Should she win, should she surrender her position ? How serious is this ? Is she going to Sac to defend herself ? I am sure it is just "another mis-understanding"
to spin this her way ! Labor or not, this isn't good for anyone or the citizens od the fire district ! What say ye about her ?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Is there a worse idea than having a Fire Board controlled by union endorsed candidates?

You bet, Fed Up, wants to put the union itself, which has demand an 11% wage increase as a PRECONDITION for even coming back to the bargaining table and which has offered NO concession, on the Board. Grab your wallets folks and look for a quarter of a million a year wages and pensions that cost tens of millions if that happens.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Peter,
I'm getting really tired of you saying they are demanding 11% to sit at the table. This is completely UNTRUE and you just keep saying this hoping the residents will buy this nonsense. Ask any of them- they WANT to get back to the table- FAIRLY. Guess what folks? We are already opening up our wallets because the Menlo Fire just hired a new HR director at $160K and a new IT employee at $90K. So here is that 1/4 million a year- PLUS benefits. They are not putting their lives on the line like the firemen, and they are paid better and have better benefits!
THANK YOU FED UP- I AM FED UP TOO. This contract needs to be resolved fairly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ????????
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Here it is about Kiraly: That's a Fair Political Practices Commission Agenda. This includes a consent agenda which means she has taken responsiblity for her violation. Post will they pull their endorsement? This is public record.

Web Link

FYI


Attached: Notice and Agenda of the Fair Political Practices Commission's November 10, 2011, meeting.
If you would like to be removed from this list, or subscribe to additional lists, please visit the "Mailing Lists" section of the FPPC web site at Web Link.
The agenda text follows. The agenda is also attached to this message as a PDF document, or click Web Link to view it and supporting materials on the FPPC website.

NOTICE AND AGENDA
Commission Meeting 1

428 J Street, Suite 800
Sacramento, CA 95814

Thursday, November 10, 2011
10:00 AM



Welcome and Introduction
Ann Ravel, FPPC Chair

PUBLIC COMMENT
1. Public Comment.
This portion of the meeting is reserved for comment on items not on the agenda. Under the Bagley-Keene Act, the Commission cannot act on items raised during public comment, but may respond briefly to statements made or questions posed; request clarification; or refer the item to staff.

PROPOSED CONSENT CALENDAR Items 2 through 21
2. Approval of October 13, 2011 Commission meeting minutes.

Campaign Reporting Violation - Streamline:
3. In the Matter of Carmen Avalos, Carmen Avalos for Assembly 2010, FPPC No. 10/912. Staff: Commission Counsel Zachary W. Norton. Respondent Carmen Avalos was a candidate for election to the 50th Assembly District in 2010, and treasurer for the Carmen Avalos for Assembly 2010 committee. Respondent failed to timely file a semiannual campaign statement for the reporting period of October 18, 2009, through December 31, 2009, in violation of Government Code Section 84200 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
4. In the Matter of Carmen Avalos, Avalos for Trustee, FPPC No. 10/917. Staff: Commission Counsel Zachary W. Norton. Respondent Carmen Avalos was a candidate for election to the Cerritos Community College District Board, and treasurer for the Avalos for Trustee committee. Respondent failed to timely file a semiannual campaign statement for the reporting period of October 18, 2009, through December 31, 2009, in violation of Government Code Section 84200 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
5. In the Matter of Robert J. Evans, FPPC No. 10/661. Staff: Senior Commission Counsel Angela Brereton, and Special Investigator Sandra Buckner. Respondent Robert J. Evans, was an unsuccessful candidate for Attorney General in the November 2, 2010, general election, who raised and spent less than $1,000 for his campaign. Respondent failed to file a short form campaign statement for calendar year 2010 by the March 22, 2010, due date, in violation of Government Code Sections 84200.5 and 84206 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $800.
6. In the Matter of Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters and Moe Stavnezer, Treasurer, FPPC No. 11/338. Staff: Commission Counsel Bridgette Castillo and Special Investigator Leon Nurse-Williams. Respondent Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters was a county general purpose committee with Respondent Moe Stavnezer serving as treasurer. Respondents failed to timely file two semi-annual campaign statements, one for the reporting period January 1, 2010, through June 30, 2010, due August 2, 2010, and one for the reporting period July 1, 2010, through December 31, 2010, due January 31, 2011, in violation of Government Code Section 84200 (2 counts). Total Proposed Penalty: $400.
7. In the Matter of Mountain View Professional Firefighters Political Action Committee and Melton Wong, Treasurer, FPPC No. 11/107. Staff: Senior Commission Counsel Neal Bucknell, Special Investigator Annaraine Diaz, and Political Reform Consultant Adrianne Korchmaros. Respondents Mountain View Professional Firefighters Political Action Committee and Melton Wong, the committee treasurer, failed to timely file electronic campaign statements for all reporting periods from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2011, in violation of Government Code Section 84605 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $400.
8. In the Matter of Blanca E. Rubio, FPPC No. 10/1052. Staff: Political Reform Consultant Adrianne Korchmaros. The respondent, current Los Angeles County Baldwin Park Unified School District Governing Board Member Blanca E. Rubio, failed to timely file the Form 470 campaign statement covering the period January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2010, due July 31, 2010, with the County of Los Angeles, in violation of Government Code Section 84206 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
9. In the Matter of Women's National Political Caucus San Gabriel Valley, and Debra Hurd, Treasurer, FPPC No. 10/321. Staff: Commission Counsel Milad Dalju and Political Reform Consultant Teri Rindahl. Women's National Political Caucus San Gabriel Valley and its treasurer, Debra Hurd, failed to file a semi-annual campaign statement for the July 1, 2010, through December 31, 2010, reporting period, due January 31, 2011, in violation of Government Code Section 84200. Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
Conflict of Interest:
10. In the Matter of Gregory Fox, FPPC No. 10/798. Staff: Commission Counsel Bridgette Castillo and Special Investigator Beatrice Moore. As a member of the Saratoga Cemetery District Board of Trustees, Respondent Gregory Fox failed to disclose his ownership interest in two undeveloped properties on his annual Statements of Economic Interests (“SEI") for the years 2006, 2007, 2008, and failed to timely disclose his ownership interest in these properties on his 2009 SEI, in violation of Government Code Sections 87300 and 87302 (4 counts). Further, Respondent Fox participated in and made governmental decisions on three occasions to develop an undeveloped parcel, referred to as the Sister's parcel, owned by the Saratoga Cemetery District, which is located within 500 feet of one of Respondent Fox's undeveloped properties, in violation of Government Code Section 87100 (3 counts). Total Proposed Penalty: $13,000.
Mass Mailing Violations:
11. In the Matter of San Bernardino Community College District, FPPC No. 11/472. Staff: Commission Counsel Zachary W. Norton and Special Investigator Mark Weber. Respondent San Bernardino Community College District sent a newsletter on or about March 15, 2011, at public expense, which featured elected board members, in violation of Government Code section 89001 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $2,000.
Statement of Economic Interests - Failure to File - Streamline:
12. In the Matter of Lee Cherry FPPC No. 11/480 Staff: Chief of Enforcement Gary Winuk, and Law Clerk Bridgette Gallagher. City of Oakland employee Lee Cherry failed to timely file an annual Statement of Economic Interests for the reporting period of January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2009, due April 1, 2010, in violation of Government Code Section 87300. Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
13. In the Matter of Nina Horne, FPPC No. 11/548. Staff: Political Reform Consultant Teri Rindahl and Law Clerk Kyle Levy. Respondent Nina Horne, also known as Leona Horne, a City of Oakland Fund for Children and Youth Commissioner, failed to file an annual Statement of Economic Interests for the reporting period of January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2009, due April 1, 2010, in violation of Government Code Section 87300 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
14. In the Matter of Gloria Jeffery, FPPC No. 11/529. Staff: Political Reform Consultant Teri Rindahl and Law Clerk Kyle Levy. Respondent Gloria Jeffery, a City of Oakland Central City East Project Area Committee member, failed to file an annual Statement of Economic Interests for the reporting period of January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2009, due April 1, 2010, in violation of Government Code Section 87300 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
15. In the Matter of Virginia Kiraly, FPPC No. 11/845. Staff: Political Reform Consultant Adrianne Korchmaros. Respondent Virginia Kiraly, Commissioner for the State of California Economic Development Commission, failed to timely file an annual Statement of Economic Interests for the reporting period of January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2010, due April 1, 2011, in violation of Government Code Section 87300 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
16. In the Matter of Emmanuel Martinez, FPPC No. 11/248. Staff: Political Reform Consultant Adrianne Korchmaros. Respondent Emmanuel Martinez, Council Member for the City of Coachella, failed to timely file an annual Statement of Economic Interests for the reporting period of January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2009, due April 1, 2010, in violation of Government Code Section 87203 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
17. In the Matter of Veronica Martinez, FPPC No. 11/576. Staff: Chief of Enforcement Gary Winuk and Law Clerk Alisha Heilman. Respondent Veronica Martinez, City of Oakland Family/Community Services Organizer, Head Start Program, failed to timely file an annual Statement of Economic Interests for the reporting period of January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2009, due April 1, 2010, in violation of Government Code Section 87300 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
18. In the Elisa Mazen, FPPC No. 11/835. Staff: Political Reform Consultant Adrianne Korchmaros. Respondent Elisa Mazen, Consultant for the Public Employees' Retirement Board, failed to timely file an annual Statement of Economic Interests for the reporting period of January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2010, due April 1, 2011, in violation of Government Code Section 87300 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
19. In the Matter of George McDaniel, FPPC No. 11/563. Staff: Chief of Enforcement Gary Winuk and Law Clerk Alisha Heilman. Respondent George McDaniel, City of Oakland Board Member, Workforce Investment Board, failed to timely file an annual Statement of Economic Interests for the reporting period of January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2009, due April 1, 2010, in violation of Government Code Section 87300 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
20. In the Matter of Ron Owens, FPPC No. 11/541. Staff: Political Reform Consultant Teri Rindahl and Law Clerk Kyle Levy. Respondent Ronald C. Owens, Oakland Measure ‘Y' Board Member, failed to timely file an annual Statement of Economic Interests for the reporting period of January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2009, due April 1, 2010, in violation of Government Code Section 87300 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
21. In the Matter of Stacy Thompson, FPPC No. 11/533. Staff: Political Reform Consultant Teri Rindahl and Law Clerk Kyle Levy. Respondent Stacy Thompson, Oakland Head Start Board Member, failed to timely file an annual Statement of Economic Interests for the reporting period of January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2009, due April 1, 2010, in violation of Government Code Section 87300 (1 count). Total Proposed Penalty: $200.
GENERAL ITEMS 22 through 26

Re-Hearing:
22. In the Matter of Frank Molina and Strategic Solutions Advisors; FPPC No. 09/807. Staff: Chief of Enforcement Gary Winuk and Program Specialist Bob Perna. Respondent Frank Molina, a registered California lobbyist and Respondent Strategic Solutions Advisors, a California lobbying firm, failed to timely file quarterly lobbyist and lobbying firm reports from January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2009, in violation of Government Code Sections 86113 and 86114 (12 counts). Total Proposed Penalty: $30,000.
23. In re Costanzo Opinion Request (Our File No. O-11-178). Staff: Assistant General Counsel John W. Wallace. The Commission will consider whether to issue an opinion addressing whether two members of the Selma City Council voted in past decisions in which they had conflicts of interest. Since the matter concerned a past vote, and conflict-of-interest issues are covered in Commission regulations and advice letters that could have been consulted at that time, the General Counsel, as Acting Executive Director, denied the request. The requestor seeks a review of this denial by the Commission.
24. Amendment of Regulations 18360, 18361 and 18361.4 and Adoption of Regulations 18361.11 and 18316.6. Staff: Enforcement Division Chief Gary Winuk and Commission Counsel Sukhi K. Brar. This proposal includes amendments to Regulations 18360, 18361, 18361.4 and adoption of Regulations 18361.11, 18316.6, all related to Enforcement procedures. The areas of improvement include: (1) codification of the current practice of allowing potential respondents the ability to communicate with the FPPC before a determination to investigate an enforcement matter is made, (2) codification of the current practice of assigning the General Counsel or an attorney in the Legal Division to hear probable cause proceedings, (3) amendments allowing discovery in probable cause proceedings for respondents, (4) a new regulation implementing procedures for default decisions, and (5) a new regulation focusing on treasurer liability for committee violations that would allow the Enforcement Division the discretion to hold the party who violated the Act in limited circumstances solely accountable, focusing mainly on major donor committees.
25. Adoption of Amendments to Regulations, 18940 through 18950.4. Staff: Commission Counsel William J. Lenkeit and General Counsel Zackery P. Morazzini. Staff proposes to revise and update the gift regulations for overall consistency and clarity, and to make substantive changes to take into account the “personal benefit" language in the definition of gift, along with codifying exceptions previously provided in Commission opinions and staff advice letters for “acts of neighborliness," and “bona-fide dating relationship." New exceptions for “acts of human compassion" and “long term friendships" are also being proposed. Additional changes are proposed to the home hospitality exception and modification of the valuation rule for tickets to non-profit and political fundraising events. Finally, the travel rules have been consolidated and simplified.
26. Discussion Item. Campaign Fraud Workshop. Staff: General Counsel Zackery P. Morazzini. Discussion of issues relating to campaign contributions and the use of Legal Defense Funds in the wake of the recent accounts of widespread campaign fraud.
STAFF REPORTS - Items 27 through 32
27. Legislative Report. Staff: Legislative Coordinator, Tara Stock
28. Litigation Report. Staff: General Counsel, Zackery P. Morazzini
29. Legal Division. Staff: General Counsel, Zackery P. Morazzini
30. Enforcement Division. Staff: Chief of Enforcement, Gary Winuk
31. Technical Assistance Division. Staff: Chief of T.A.D., Lynda Cassady
32. Administration Division. Staff: Chief of Administration, Tina Bass





CLOSED SESSION - Item 33
33. Pending Litigation (Gov. Code § 11126(e)(1)).
ProtectMarriage.com, et al. v. Debra Bowen, et al. (United States District Court, Eastern District of California, Case No. 2:09-cv-00058- MCE-DAD).

The next Commission meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 10:00 AM. Location: 428 J Street, Suite 800, Sacramento, CA 95814.
1 You can obtain further information about the meeting by contacting the Commission Assistant, 428 J Street, Suite 620, Sacramento, CA, 95814, Tel. 916-322-5745. Written comments on agenda items should be submitted to the Commission no later than 12:00 p.m. the day before the meeting in order to afford the Commissioners adequate time to fully consider the comments. The fax number for comment letters is 916-322-6440.
The agenda and related documents are posted on the FPPC website at www.fppc.ca.gov. Materials submitted by the public regarding each agenda item will be made available at the meeting and on the website.
Members of the public may listen to the meeting by phone by calling (888) 751-0624; access code is 723284.
The meeting location is accessible to the disabled. Persons who, due to a disability, need assistance in order to participate in this meeting should, prior to the meeting, contact the Commission Assistant at 916-322-5745 (voice), 916-322-6440 (facsimile) or in writing. TTY/TDD and Speech-to-Speech users may dial 7-1-1 for the California Relay Service to submit comments on an agenda item or to request special accommodations for persons with disabilities. Please allow a reasonable period of time between the request and the meeting date.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Pat - You are wrong. In their letter of 29 Sept the union states that they will not return to the bargaining table until the District accepts the union's position. Feel free to cite a specific union proposal that asks for less than the 11% wage increase - I haven't seen one.

The District has invited the union back to the bargaining table more than 8 times and they still refuse. What are they waiting for? A union dominated Board?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ranger
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 2, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Did they propose 11 percent in a single year ? Or was it 11 percent over a multi year contract ?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 2, 2011 at 4:03 pm

The 11% was for year 1 - first a 6% increase in order to be placed above the average of the surrounding high paid fire agencies and then a 5% increase.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Pat -- As far as I know the fire district hasn't hired either an HR or IT person.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ranger
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 3, 2011 at 8:49 am

Bob -- From what I was told yesterday I believe both positions were filled through existing contract staff with no outside recruitment.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ranger
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 3, 2011 at 8:52 am

Sorry I should have been clearer with my previous post, as i understand it they were contract positions made permanent as benefited positions


 +   Like this comment
Posted by susan smith
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 3, 2011 at 9:46 am

[Post removed. Please discuss issues, not the personal lives of candidates.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Assuming Ranger is correct, perhaps Mr. Carpenter or someone from the distirct can tell us the difference in cost between making these employees permanent and retaning them as contract employees


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2011 at 4:52 pm

See:
Web Link




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Peter, your link does not work


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2011 at 7:20 pm

See:
Web Link

and go to item 24 and see attachments


 +   Like this comment
Posted by menlo FF
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2011 at 7:44 pm

As a firefighter the main issue here is the board called a "special meeting" on a friday morning when the admin offices are always closed. There is never been a board meeting on fridays. They the cancel their following week sub-committee meetings. 8 working days before Carpenter and pray to god Spencer will be off the board they adopt the most radical changes in 30yrs.. [Portion removed. Stick to the issue.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm

I love it when an anonymous 'firefighter' finally has the courage to rant in public. You will note that he didn't address the union's demand for an 11% wage increase.

All of the issues addressed in the Special Meeting had been discussed in prior public sessions. All of the issues addressed in the Special Meeting had been presented to the union leadership with the continuing offer to resume negotiations - the union refused.

And now you know why the firefighters' union is spending $50,000 to try to get a union endorsed Board - they won't negotiate so they expected the Board to ignore its responsibilities and just sit on its hands. I am very glad that they were disappointed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Roy Desoto
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2011 at 8:07 pm

[Post deleted, Personal attack violates terms of use.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2011 at 8:10 pm

None of this was either done in secret or without numerous attempts to get the union to come back to the bargaining table. The District's latest proposal was provide to the union on 21 Sept, 2011. The union acknowledged receipt in its letter of 29 Sept. 2011 in which it declined the offer to resume negotiations on these very issues.

These exchanges can be seen as attachments to item 19 of the 18 Oct Board meeting:
Web Link

Given the union's refusal to negotiate the Board had no alternative but to move forward on these essential issues.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Roy - you accuse me of being unethical. Please provide specific facts to support this bold allegation.

Other readers - Note that Roy Desoto is the name of a TV series firefighter and is probably being used here by another very brave firefighter who prefers to hurl unsupported charges from the dark shadows of anonymity.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Roy, Roy, Roy,

Brown Act (paper tiger that it is)

The only thing that is missing in San Mateo County is a DA that will enforce the Brown Act Laws.....That will take care of the paper tiger statement.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by mike sweeney
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2011 at 9:07 pm

The union cant go back to the table with a PERB charge being filed. Get it through your stubborn head. Carpenter remember when you first became a board member and you bought and delivered new DVD players to all the firehouses. Those were the days. There is no way you can say that the timing of all these changes are not suspect. As a FF i understand and agree w/ some of the changes. As a FF with 30 yrs and age 50 its crazy i can retire at 90%. But that's what elected officials gave to us. Do you expect me to say No i don't want it. Im not greedy.I am just receiving what past board members gave me. And to the MP pepole and Atherton people I am a top step senor capt with 30yrs on the job and a paramedic who makes $44 an hour. I work 240 hrs a month. Do you?
Is that really to much money?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2011 at 9:16 pm

"The union cant go back to the table with a PERB charge being filed.

Wrong. There is no impediment to the union going back to the table. With PERB taking years to resolve charges there are hundreds of unions with filed PERB charges that are not only at the table but have reached new agreements. The union does not want to go back to the table until they have a union endorsed Board - period. That is why they are spending $50,000 on this election.

And my hat is off to Mike for speaking out in his own name. He has always had and will always have my respect; he is a true professional.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John Thompson
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Just stumbled across this forum a few days ago and found out about some of the major changes taking place in the Menlo Fire Department. It seems like the Fire Chief and a few of the board members have it out for the honorable and brave firefighters that risk their lives on a daily basis. Yes, everyone should be making concessions in our current economy. It sounds like they should really start over from the beginning and sweep the past under the table. Menlo Fire looks like it was once a great place to work. They have a strong involvement in the community, they were leaders in urban search and rescue (not sure what happened with that), and were committed to providing the best service to their district. All of these extremely major changes that the board and Chief want to impose will be steering this once great department into a downward spiral. Changing work hours, not being able to buy food on duty, stiff vacation rules, and retirement changes just to mention a few! I can now see smart, solid, qualified, department members leaving this department. This is very unfortunate. People need to see through what the Chief and some of the board members are doing and the long term effects this will encompass down the road. The Chief needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and see where he came from. Then he needs to start at the top. What concessions is he making? It also looks like the department is very over staffed in administrative positions? If I was looking into becoming a firefighter and these two cities were paying the same and had the same benefits I would not even consider working their! Hopefully not to many citizens will believe in and follow the Chief and Mr Carpenter in his beliefs. I think its time for a change at the top as well as finding some real board members that are fair in judgement and character on both sides of the table. Good luck to the Menlo Firefighters and the citizens of Menlo Park.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 4, 2011 at 7:58 am

It's interesting that in all these comments, rarely is there a statement that these fire fighters should be grateful they have a job and one with a good salary and benefits given California's unemployment rate of 12%.

There may be some bumps in their work work -- deal with it. We all have bumps in our work world from time to time. We all have things about our job we don't like. I'm grateful I have a job unlike some of my neighbors who are unemployed.

I'm sure that there are things both side can do better. I'll bet if both sides really look there is some common ground and start building from there. It's time to stop finger pointing and resolve this matter for the sake of everybody including the community.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2011 at 9:22 am

John - what about this language in the Resolution is not clear:

"Notwithstanding the Union's refusal to negotiate—to date—the District invites the Union to meet and confer concerning any impacts stemming from this Resolution.

Furthermore, all items in this resolution that are mandatory subjects of bargaining shall be subject to future negotiation when the Union chooses to return to the bargaining table to negotiate a successor memorandum of understanding."?

Do you understand that the Board authorized the expenditure of more than $1 million to the firefighters to effect the vacation cash out included in the resolution?

Why should firefighters who work on a Sunday have a relaxed duty day?

Do you think that the firefighters should continue to enjoy their current 3% at 50 guaranteed benefit program?

Where in this resolution do you read that the firefighters cannot grocery shop while on duty? Is it not reasonable to have such shopping done during historical low call periods?

Since the union refuses to meet and confer what would you do? Nothing?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Interested
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 4, 2011 at 9:37 am

Peter, did you and Bart Spencer while on the board vote for the 3 at 50 option concerning CALPers for our current firefighters?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2011 at 9:39 am

Interested - In 2003 I did vote for 3% at 50 and it was a BIG mistake on my part.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by interested
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 4, 2011 at 9:47 am

Honest answer


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2011 at 9:48 am

Peter,
Your quote "Do you think that the firefighters should continue to enjoy their current 3% at 50 guaranteed benefit program?"
Another reminder- your current board just created two BRAND NEW administrative positions costing the district $250K, not including benefits. These are not firefighters- these are Office Positions (HR and IT). By the way- Menlo Fire has just over 100 employees- why do they need ANOTHER HR and ANOTHER IT position at a quarter million dollars. These two positions include the inflated retirement you keep speaking to rid of. PLUS, your board voted to extend the current AFSME contract thru 2012, with their same inflated retirement- no mention of changing that (or the raises they have been getting over the last 3 years- it's on your website).
These firemen carry 80+ pounds of gear; they breathe in smoke and chemicals; they require heavy manual labor which takes a toll on one's physical abilities. Do you think a 65 year old man should be doing this job- could he do this job after years of intense labor? You pay the cops an outrageous salary for "putting their lives on the line" Are the firemen not worth it? Your board is just creating havoc and misery- OUT WITH SPENCER! OUT WITH CARPENTER! Our community needs a change and these firemen deserve more credit and respect.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 4, 2011 at 10:15 am

Let's suppose the Board did agree to the union's demands and increase their pay and leave benefits where they are. How soon after that do you think there will be financial difficulties or possible bankruptcy?

Respect and credit don't automatically equal more pay. Look at the SEAL team who took out Bin Laden, how much money do you think those men make? $50,000 maybe. I'll bet their job is much more difficult, taxing and dangerous. They're asking for more money. They do their job as a public servant; fire fighters are public servants too. Despite what Pat says they get plenty of respect.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2011 at 10:22 am

Joe-
You missed my whole point. The board is being hypocritical. The are creating NEW admin salaries- $160K for an HR director- their site lists 4 HR positions already, and they only have just over 100 employees! And a new IT position at $90K?? For what? They include high pensions and better benefits than the firefighters. Quit beating them up.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2011 at 10:27 am

Pat - the IT and HR positions are not safety positions and do not have the 3% at 50 retirement benefit and these were not new roles but conversions from contract positions.

The AFSCME contract does not have 3% at 50 and the contract was extended with NO wage increase.

I don't pay the cops anything - the District has no cops.

And as Joe pints out SEALS are paid less than HALF of what our firefighters get paid and they only get 70% at retirement - if they survive.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2011 at 10:39 am

Pat states:"OUT WITH CARPENTER!"
Don't waste your time on me Pat - after 9 years of service on the Fire Board I am voluntarily stepping down.

Pat states:"Our community needs a change and these firemen deserve more credit and respect."
I have always given the individual firefighters both credit and respect - just search these forum pages for the many times that I have praised them and their work.

I don't respect their union and its leadership which is the most recalcitrant firefighters union in California - no bargaining, no concessions, only law suits.

Pat - since you live in 'another community' perhaps you might enlighten us as to your concern for 'our community'. Where do you live? Are you a MPFPD firefirefighter or related to a firefighter?


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Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2011 at 11:00 am

Peter,
I am NOT a firefighter, nor am I related. I live in the county area of Menlo Fire District- one that is not listed on the almanac neighborhood selection. I am a tax payer, paying taxes to this fire district. I have witnessed the firemen/paramedics save my Mother's life in the middle of the night. I have witnessed the firemen put out a fires in two of my neighbors's houses over the last 3 years, and I am VERY grateful they are here if I need them. I am tired of teh bickering - I want fairness on both sides- not just for the "1%" Back to business:
The AFSME contract from MPFD website (NON-FIREMEN):

The Single Highest Year Option
The District contracts with CalPERS for the purpose of providing eligible bargaining unit employees with pension benefits. Pension benefits are provided in accordance with the CalPERS 2.7% at age 55 plan, with the following options:
The District shall pay the full amount of any employer contribution required by CalPERS, not to exceed eight (8%) percent of an employee's "compensation" as that term is defined by the Public Employees Retirement Law.

On July 9, 2008, the total compensation packages for all bargaining unit positions was adjusted by 3.2%, based on the 2008 April CPI (April-April Consumer Price Index for San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose for the Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W)) rounded to the nearest $1.00. The effect of this increase on bargaining unit salaries has been incorporated in the salary ranges contained in Exhibit A.

On July 9, 2009, the salary ranges contained in Exhibit A will be adjusted by 0.3% based on the 2009 April CPI (April-April Consumer Price Index for San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose for the Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W)). The effect of this increase has been incorporated in the salary ranges contained in Exhibit B.

On July 9, 2010, the salary ranges contained in Exhibit B will be adjusted by a percentage equal to the value of the 2010 April CPI (April-April Consumer Price Index for San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose for the Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W)).


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 4, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Pat --

I am not beating up our firemen. I have great respect for people who serve our communities -- law, fire and EMS. I also have great respect for those who don military uniforms.

I do have concerns when people believe they are entitled to unsustainable salaries and benefits. I'm glad that the fireman were able to provide service to your family and some of your neighbors. That doesn't mean they should get a more money. It means they are doing their job -- much like the Navy SEALS who did their job.

While you believe that Mr. Spencer and Mr. Carpenter (retiring) should leave the Board, that would leave 4 other candidates as options for this election. Mr. Silano is heavily endorsed and financed by the fire union and Ms. Kirlay is endorsed by the same union. I won't vote for either of them. That leaves Mr. Barnum; seems like an option, but a newbie or Mr. Kennedy. If you read the Almanac's recount of him.........well let's just say "not qualified".

Let's just agree to disagree.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Of all the candidates running, Bart Spencer is clearly the most qualified and least encumbered by the union endorsement/obligation.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Shelley Kessler sent out a mailer titled Union Busters are Community Wreckers.

She identified myself, Bart Spencer and a couple of others as a NO.

I like Peter's assessment..."Bart Spencer is clearly the most qualified and least encumbered by the union endorsement/obligation."


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Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Peter. Let me first state that there are 2 persons posting as interested.....I am not the person that posted in the last few hours.

I am however the person that asked about the difference in cost between leaving the 2 Admin positions. Despite your efforts, which I appreciate, I am unable to find the information I was asking for. (not your problem, just unable to download the data.)

Will you please advise the difference in cost between leaving the 2 positions as contract or permanent.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Interested - I do not have the data that you requested but I will see if I can get it on Monday.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Interested-
These are two brand new positions that did NOT exist. A temporary "contract" position does not receive benefits or retirement- these new positions receive both.
From the Menlo fire website board meeting agendas:
HR Position:
"That the Board of Directors approves a Resolution authorizing the Fire Chief to Amend the contract with
Barbara Powell, increasing the scope of work and increasing the contract budget from $23,500 to $114,000
and transferring $54,000 from the vacant Deputy Chiefs position to the Budget for contract services in the
personnel and risk management program." What happens when they fill the "vacant deputy chief" position, which they currently recruiting for?

IT position:
staff is recommending a salary range of $70,678 to $85,925 for the IT Specialist position.

These positions are reported to CalPERS as miscellaneous positions. The employer contribution to CalPERS for
these positions is currently calculated at 14.762%."


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Pat - I think that we have gotten way off topic with regarding to these two positions. Why don't you start a new topic on this subject?


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Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Peter-
How is this off topic? The board is willing to spend over $250K plus benefits of tax payer $$$ on new admin positions, without starting the retirement cuts here? You brought up the 3% at 50, but you refuse to comment on the 2.7 at 55 for NON-Safety! You want changes to the firemen, but not for your admin. This is extremely Hypocritical. Changes are coming to retirement all over the country, and you "overlooked" an opportunity in your own backyard.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Pat - start a new topic on this item of your interest and I will gladly respond - as I have at least 11 times before to your very same issues.

I will ignore any further questions from you on this issue on this thread as I consider them to be a distraction and they are clearly off topic.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Thanks Peter. That's exactly why I keep bringing it up- you refuse to answer.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Pat - there is no other way to say this but, as the record show, you are simply lying.

As I stated:
"start a new topic on this item of your interest and I will gladly respond - as I have at least 11 times before to your very same issues.

I will ignore any further questions from you on this issue on this thread as I consider them to be a distraction and they are clearly off topic."


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Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Peter. Thank you, I will be interested to see the difference in salary.

Pat. While the two positions in question may have been "Contract Employees", and good Business owner will tell you that if you hire a so called "Temp" who are worth the money, you try to make them permanent.....

The beauty of "Contract Employees" is if they are useless the door is easy.

If the FD has found two people worth keeping, then good for them and cudo'sfor keeping them. If that means making them permanent with salary and bene's.....Bloody good job.

Any fool can buy a cheap trash bag.......sucks taking it to the garbage container........When you find a good one, keep buying them.



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Posted by mike
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm

[Post removed. Keep your comments respectful.]


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Mike - you get an A for hearsay and trash talk but an F for accuracy.

I have ALWAYS distinguished between my deep respect for the individual firefighters and my lack of respect for the firefighters' union. I never said that I was "glad the firefighters are not happy about the changes". What I said was: "And now you know why the firefighters' union is spending $50,000 to try to get a union endorsed Board - they won't negotiate so they expected the Board to ignore its responsibilities and just sit on its hands. I am very glad that they were disappointed."


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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I like firefighters but hate the union!


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Posted by Bart Spencer
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 4, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Mike –

While I appreciate your efforts to disqualify me as a qualified candidate, I would highlight the following from my 25+ years in the emergency services industry. I began my career as a firefighter/paramedic in the Memphis area. I performed CPR many times and have 2 field saves; the first time I drove an engine was to a structure fire during a tornado; and I delivered a baby in the field – all before I was 25 years old. After moving to CA, I worked in the San Jose area as a first responder and field training officer. All while wearing a uniform.

In my spare time I taught first aid, CPR, lifeguarding, and water safety for the Red Cross for 30 years. Of the numerous people who I taught CPR to, some have actually used it and saved lives. Currently, I volunteer my time helping the youth in East Palo Alto through a non-profit sports program and help mentor Stanford students.

My time on the Board has been to serve my community; it was never about the badge. If I wear a T-shirt, it's because I'm proud of this organization. Having been a firefighter and paramedic, I have great respect for those who continue to do the work.

I am a qualified candidate.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm

With Bart Spencer's reply he certainly is a qualified candidate. I'm impressed with his service and his accomplishments. He has my vote. I don't know that many people who have done that much before turning 25!


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 4, 2011 at 6:07 pm

To: Mr. Spencer;

According to your Linklin page, you worked for Cooper's Roam Secure? Why did you leave? What are you doing now other than the Fire Board?


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Mr. Spencer;

Two more questions:
Were you ever an EMT in California, the state does not list you as one.

As a firemen/EMT in Tennessee: did you have a state certification? What fire department were you a member? I can't find any certiifcations for an EMT in Tennessee or California? Why is that?

Do you have a firemen certification in Tennessee? What was the name of the town or city. According to the MPFPD Web-site, it lists you still working for Cooper's Roam Secure? Is your Linklin page correct or is the MPFD web-site incorrect. You link your site to their's? I'm confused?


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Posted by Jeffrey
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Nov 4, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Is the post by Michael Stogner the same Stogner that ran unsuccessfully for a county supervisor position by moving into a Bulingame hotel, thought that would be perfectly legitimate and whose only endorsement was from the same Peter Carpenter?

If so, these actions reveal personal agendas that have no relevance to
good governance. It would be wise to remember that while the firefighters have not had a raise since 2006, our publicity seeking fire chief has reaped a 12% pay increase. Let's hope that Silano and Kiraly are elected next Tuesday so we get elected officials in place willing to look at both sides and bring a sense of fairness to both our firefighters and the taxpayers.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Jeffery - the firefighters have had no pay increase because they demanded an 11% increase which the Board denied and since then they have refused to negotiate. While firefighters all over the State have been agreeing to concessions.

Do you want to give them an 11% increase?

And the Fire Chief signed a new 5 year agreement with NO salary increase for 5 YEARS !!


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Posted by tom
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2011 at 9:16 pm

the same fire chief who applied for a chief job in santa clara recently. but didnt make the cut cause he does not even have a BA. fire chief has life insurance, FF do not, district pays 9% retirement, FF pay their own. 4 door 4wheel drive vehicle and living in san jose, waste of money. the same chief whose own command staff has no faith nor do they support him. the department is a wreck, not because of no salary raise but because the department is being run by Michele Braught. Bart spencer spends alot of time with the youth.hmmmmm


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Posted by Jeffrey
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Nov 4, 2011 at 9:35 pm

The 11% increase was so stipulated when the firefighter's contract was last negotiated. While they may have asked for that increase when the contract was due to expire, they understand that the economics of such an increase are not warranted in today's economy.

Nevertheless, while our media seeking fire chief may have recently signed a new five year contract with no pay increase and offered his sideshow about giving up sick days, you are well aware that he has reaped a 12% increase since our firefighters last negotiated an acceptable contract back in 2006. Your posts consistently do not report all the facts which is why it is so important we get individuals elected that are fair and balanced so we can improve the low morale that is obviously prevalent with our firefighters and as evidenced on this forum.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Jeffery states:"The 11% increase was so stipulated when the firefighter's contract was last negotiated"

Wrong. The 2003 contract was for 5 years expiring in 2008 and any subsequent agreement was subject to negotiation.

Jeffery states:"While they may have asked for that increase when the contract was due to expire, they understand that the economics of such an increase are not warranted in today's economy."

Wrong. They have never proposed a lesser increase and instead simply walked away from the table.

Jeffery - your use of pronouns suggest that you might be a firefighter - are you?


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Posted by Jeffrey
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Nov 4, 2011 at 10:02 pm


I would imagine you would be aware of firefighters with the name of Jeffrey living in the Stanford Hills and curious what pronouns used in my posts that would suggest I am a firefighter.

It should not make any difference to our discussion whether I am a firefighter or not but for the record I am not since that always seems to be a pressing issue for you with any post that disagrees with your position.

Since I have answered your questions, do you deny your friend the fire chief has not received a 12% increase in pay since 2006 (and that our firefighters have had no increase) or that you endorsed a candidate that moved into a Burlingame Motel for no other reason than to run for a county supervisor position?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 4, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Between 2006 and 2011 the Fire Chief and all other non-union personnel did receive salary increases.

I endorsed Michael Stogner based on his commitment to open government and fiscal responsibility. The County establishes residency requirements, not me.

I have zero confidence that unregistered anonymous posters either use their real names or live where they claim to live except for those few regular anonymous posters whom I have met face to face and learned to respect.


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Posted by Jeffrey
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Nov 4, 2011 at 10:55 pm

As an informed voter you certainly knew Stogner would be moving into a Burligame motel but nevertheless endorsed him. Everyone I know is also for open government and fiscal responsibilty including Rob Silano and Virginia Kiraly but I certainly would not have voted for either one (let alone endorse them) if I knew they had moved into a motel for the sole purpose of running for the fire district positions.

The firefighters are entitled to a negotiated increase. They're not expecting a 12% increase like your friend the fire chief reaped, just what is fair and a fire board willing to listen rather than walk away.

Your endorsement of Stogner as well as Barnum and Spencer clearly reflects a personal agenda rather than good governance and any effort to solve the longstanding problems with our firefighters. Let's hope for a breath of fresh air with the election of Silano and Kiraly in four days.


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 5, 2011 at 1:01 am

Mr. Spencer; Please answer my questions.


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Posted by Virginia Chang Kiraly
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Nov 5, 2011 at 8:37 am

Dear Almanac Readers:

Sandy Brundage contacted me for an explanation of what happened with my FPPC violation. Below is the explanation I gave her, and I wanted to share this with you. I hope this answers some questions.

From 2007-2009, the CA Comm for Econ Dev used to meet every quarter. The CA Lt. Gov. chairs the CED. During this time, when John Garamendi was the Lt. Gov. and chaired the CED, we met quarterly. His office either had the forms ready for us at a quarterly meeting or sent out the form to all the Commissioners. When Congressman Garamendi won his seat for Congress in September 2009, state Senator Abel Maldonado was appointed to fill the Lt. Gov's seat and sworn in on May 4, 2010. The Commissioners usually receive the Form 700 in the first quarter of the year, but there was no Lt. Gov. until May 2010, so we didn't have a meeting in the first half of the year, and I did not receive the Form 700. Our only meeting with Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado was August 11, 2010. At that time, we did not receive the Form 700 either. Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado was running for election for Lt. Gov. for the November 2010 election. As we now know, he lost. Therefore, the last time, I received a Form 700 was in 2009.

Since Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom became the new Lt. Gov. after winning in November 2010, we have not had a CED meeting, so I didn't receive a Form 700 in 2011. It was only after the FPPC mailed me a form, in a letter postmarked September 20, 2011 (for which I still have the envelope), and notified me that I was in violation for not having completed and filed my Form 700 in a timely manner that I realized I had not filed my 2010 Form 700 and that I would be late in filing it. I immediately completed and over-night mailed it to the FPPC within the first two weeks of October (before the deadline that would have increased the fine to $5,000), along with my $200 late fee and my signed stipulation that I had not timely filed my Form 700-- because I was late that's a fact. My only thought, at the time, was to get the Form 700 to the FPPC and be in compliance. Therefore, my Form 700 WAS filed, along with a $200 fine and a signed stipulation that I had not initially filed in a timely manner, instead of a $5,000 fine had I not filed it at all.

The FPPC's agenda shows my $200 fee and signed stipulation as violating the FPPC rule of not submitting a timely filed Form 700 in 2010, along with many others for the same violation. We are on the consent calendar. In case you don't know what a consent calendar is, in a nutshell, Robert's Rules has defined "consent calendar" as: "A consent calendar quickly processes a lot of noncontroversial items that can be disposed of quickly by placing them on a list (the consent calendar) of items to be adopted all at once." In order to have been placed on the agenda and the consent calendar, we also had to have filed our Form 700. Therefore, because I filed my Form 700 (though late), the FPPC will be acknowledging and accepting that I, and the others, have filed our Form 700, paid the $200 fine, and signed the stipulation that we did not file our Form 700 in a timely manner.

This is the only time I have failed to file a political form on time with the FPPC. I am not blaming anyone else but myself because this was my own fault. Since we have not had a CED meeting in 2011 under Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, and probably won't, I will, undoubtedly, be filing my Form 700 on time in the future and going to the FPPC to actually download and print the form. Should have I been more diligent in downloading and printing a Form 700 from the FPPC's website in 2010? Yes. Is it my fault that I didn't do this? Yes. Did I intend to violate the FPPC rules? NO. I have no problem with being honest and admitting to my first and only FPPC filing mistake by not filing my Form 700 in time in 2010. Trust me, I will not make the same $200 mistake again!

My term ends in 2014, and I've served as a Commissioner on the CED since 2007 in a voluntary capacity. My volunteer work has always been about serving my community and, in this case, the State of CA. I, like the other Commissioners, serve at the pleasure of the Governor, since he appoints the Commissioners. It has always been my/our hope to encourage businesses to thrive in CA so that the CA economy can thrive. Financial sustainability of public agencies is crucial and has been important to me for many years, as well as NOT leaving a huge debt burden for future generations-- our children and grandchildren. Keeping our essential services and being financially responsible is one of the main reasons I am running for the MP Fire Board.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through my website at: www.VirginiaChangKiraly.com.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2011 at 8:57 am

Jeffrey,

"Is the post by Michael Stogner the same Stogner that ran unsuccessfully for a county supervisor position by moving into a Bulingame hotel, thought that would be perfectly legitimate and whose only endorsement was from the same Peter Carpenter?"

The reason I moved into the hotel is that it was legal to do so. I also moved to Belmont to legally be considered an applicant for the seat Jerry Hill vacated.

You will recall Mike Nevin did not do that and was indicted for voter fraud.

I will not accept endorsements or money from unions or organizations.

Hope that answers your questions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 5, 2011 at 9:19 am

Jeffery states: The firefighters are entitled to a negotiated increase. They're not expecting a 12% increase like your friend the fire chief reaped, just what is fair and a fire board willing to listen rather than walk away.

Jeffery: repeating a lie does not make it true. The firefighters insist on an 11% increase. That is a FACT. The FIREFIGHTERS walked away from the table and refuse to negotiate, not the board. That is a FACT. Your insistance that it is the board that is unwilling to negotiate is a LIE. But, you know that.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 5, 2011 at 9:57 am

Some historical perspective on the union's intransigence might be helpful - note that as of Nov 2011, two years later, the union still refuses to return to the bargaining table:



June 24, 2009



PUBLIC RESPONSE TO FIRE UNION'S UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE CHARGE


For over fourteenth months the Fire District has been negotiating with the San Mateo County Firefighters, Local 2400 on terms and conditions for a new labor contract. The parties have reached tentative agreement on over 106 subjects affecting 20 sections of the contract and are now down to just two open issues: salary and health and welfare benefits. On June 2, 2009, the District wrote to the Fire Union explaining the District's position on each disputed point and why the District believed the parties were at impasse on those two sections. The District also explained why it felt the Fire Union's salary and benefits proposal was untenable given the present economic environment and circumstances facing the District. The Fire District offered the use of an outside mediator to help the parties bridge the gap.

The Fire Union's response was to file an unfair labor practice charge with the Public Employees Relations Board ("PERB"), alleging bad faith negotiations and improper unilateral actions by the District. It is regrettable that the parties must now spend limited public resources contesting matters before PERB, while answers to the impasse can only be found at the bargaining table. It is also regrettable that the Fire Union's charge omits many significant facts concerning the parties' extensive negotiations and ignores the many positive outcomes reached at the bargaining table. For example:

The Fire Union claims the District has engaged in regressive bargaining because it failed to maintain all of the elements of a salary and benefits proposal offered by the District in October of 2008. The charge omits the fact that the Fire Union summarily rejected that offer without explanation and ignored its terms for over four months, waiting until February of 2009 to submit its own revised salary proposal. The charge also omits the fact that the Fire Union understood that the offer would lapse if not accepted by the Union membership by October 31, 2009. The charge also omits the fact that the Fire Union has repeatedly advised the District that no salary proposal would be acceptable that failed to guarantee a particular position relative to the other survey agencies.

The Fire Union claims the District has engaged in regressive bargaining by failing to follow an alleged "agreement" between the parties on the elements of a total compensation survey to be used in negotiations. The charge omits the fact that parties did in fact refer to and discuss the survey during salary negotiations, as called for by the parties' labor contract. The charge also omits the fact that the real disagreement on this point is over the Union's position noted above, that the survey must operate to guarantee automatic salary increases over the term of the contract, thereby removing the authority and discretion of Board to establish employee compensation. It should also be noted that this practice of automatically increasing public employee salaries based on a survey formula was recently called into question by the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury. The Grand Jury notes that the practice of indexing salaries to other agencies causes public agencies to bid against each other, thereby driving up the cost of public employee compensation. The Grand Jury's report validates the Fire District's objection to the Fire Union's inflexible position on use of the survey.

The Fire Union claims the District repudiated a settlement agreement calling for the creation of a joint labor/management committee and use of an outside consultant to work with the parties on improving communications between the Fire Union and District Management. The charge omits the fact that it was the District's idea to hire the consultant, at the District's expense, and that the District continues to work with the consultant to further the objectives of the settlement agreement.

The Fire Union claims the District has repeatedly reneged on previously-reached agreements both within and outside of contract negotiations, evidencing bad faith in the bargaining process. The charge ignores the hundreds of hours devoted to the bargaining process by District representatives, spanning a period of fourteenth months, and the extensive list of tentative agreements resulting from that effort. Yet, it is precisely this history of the parties' negotiations that will guide PERB's review of the charge and which serves to so emphatically refute the Fire Union's assertion that the District has acted in bad faith.

All of the Fire Union's allegations will be addressed in detail when the District submits its statement of position to PERB. In the meantime, the Fire District Board of Directors and administration remain committed to working with the Fire Union in good faith at the bargaining table with the hope of reaching agreement on a successor labor contract.

*****************
Since this letter the Fire Board declared impasse, implemented a new contract which improved the firefighters health benefits and, with the resolution posted above, made important management changes including authorizing more than $1 million to cash out excess accrued vacations. It is hard to see how the Fire Board could have done anything else to protect the publics' interest while always encouraging the union to return to the bargaining table.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 5, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Here is the opinion of a PERB expert on the union's refusal to bargain:

"As for your situation, I've encountered similar situations where there
is an unfair practice filed when the employer declares impasse and
implements. Then the employer wants to start bargaining again for the
next year but the union still has the unfair practice pending with PERB
regarding the prior implementation. I don't know of any specific PERB
case on that issue, but generally what happens is that the union will
return to the bargaining table but may request either a stipulation,
ground rule or some other understanding that they are not waiving their
rights with respect to the PERB charge by coming back to the table -
which is fine. If the union refuses to bargain, in my opinion that can
be a waiver of their right to bargain; I don't think that the fact that
there is a pending PERB charge will inoculate the union from returning
to the table, especially if management offers a stipulation like what I
mentioned, but it would depend on the specific facts.....Hope this
helps."


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Mr. Spencer, Can you answer my questions? Second Request:

According to your Linkedin page, you worked for Cooper's Roam Secure? Why did you leave? What are you doing now other than the Fire Board?


Were you ever an EMT in California, the state does not list you as one.

As a firemen/EMT in Tennessee: did you have a state certification? What fire department were you a member? I can't find any certiifcations for an EMT in Tennessee or California? Why is that?




Do you have a firemen certification in Tennessee? What was the name of the town or city. According to the MPFPD Web-site, it lists you still working for Cooper's Roam Secure? Is your Linkedin page correct or is the MPFD web-site incorrect. You link your site to their's? I'm confused?



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Posted by interested
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 6, 2011 at 6:02 am

To Tom: Maybe Peter?

What fire department was it that our chief applied? I cannot believe he would apply for another position and he does not have a degree? I think you got your facts wrong. Why would he leave when he has a 5 year contract with the district as was said in this blog? I don't care if you are a firefighter or not, are these true. Peter can you dis-spell these.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 6, 2011 at 6:05 am

I have no knowledge of the events alleged by Tom regarding the Santa Clara position.


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 6, 2011 at 10:28 am

Mr. Spencer, why won't you answer my questions?

Ms. Kiraly, Mr. Silano and Mr. Kennedy have been under the microscope about their qualifications and personal lives by the press. Are you who you say you are? Maybe the media will pick up on this? Why have you escaped all this intense scrutiny?
Maybe your use of the internet can constitute a FPPC inquiry as once was reported involving a conflict of interest charge between you and Peter Carpenter.
I will vote for Ms. Kiraly and Mr. Silano and pass on your DECEPTION to all my friends. Anyone that would subject their families and themselves to such scrutiny, I commend, thank them for running for office and giving us a choice. OTHER THAN YOU!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 6, 2011 at 10:34 am

"FPPC inquiry as once was reported involving a conflict of interest charge between you and Peter Carpenter."

"Reporting that something occurred" is a typically courageous act by another anonymous poster. The FPPC determined that there was no conflict.


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 6, 2011 at 10:49 am

Peter: Will Mr. Spencer respond to my questions as he did to others on this blog?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 6, 2011 at 10:53 am

Voter - based on my personal experience on this Forum I would never recommend that another elected official respond to or post anything on this blog - the unregistered anonymous posters have turned this Forum in to a snake pit of innuendo and false charges.

I continue to post in spite of those concerns in the hope that someday this Forum will become
a " respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion."


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Nov 6, 2011 at 11:38 am

Voter asks
Peter: Will Mr. Spencer respond to my questions as he did to others on this blog?

Its simple just call him he will either answer or call you back.


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 7, 2011 at 7:24 am

Still waiting for Mr. Spencer's reply to my Questions? Good suggestion Michael, but waiting on both ends? Why won't he answer?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2011 at 7:30 am

Voter - He has not answered your question because you did not ask him, you simply posted your question in a Forum that is, for sad reasons, read by very few people.

IF you really want an answer from Mr. Spencer just call him or email him and quit asking your question on a thread that has NO relationship to your question. Contact information for elected officials is on their body's web site.

And, as I stated above - based on my personal experience on this Forum I would never recommend that another elected official respond to or post anything on this blog - the unregistered anonymous posters have turned this Forum in to a snake pit of innuendo and false charges.

I continue to post in spite of those concerns in the hope that someday this Forum will become " a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion."


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 7, 2011 at 8:00 am

As a voter I have a right to know! Don't worry I won't bother you and Mr. Spencer again. I got my answer. NO VOTE FOR HIM.!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2011 at 8:06 am

Voter - you did not get your answer because you never sent your question to the elected official in question. Don't expect your elected officials to read your postings in this Forum - they have much more important things to do than to sort through all the trash talk on this Forum and they are all available via email and most by phone.

Your objective is not to get an answer but is simply to caste aspersions.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2011 at 10:19 am

Peter,
You stated "Between 2006 and 2011 the Fire Chief and all other non-union personnel did receive salary increases"
This is NOT TRUE. While there may have been no "Fire Union" increase, you certainly DID give raises to the AFSME UNION MEMBERS.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2011 at 11:42 am

Pat - You seem to have a problem dealing with the TRUTH.

You asked if the Fire Chief had received a salary increase since 2008. I replied "Between 2006 and 2011 the Fire Chief and all other non-union personnel did receive salary increases"

You did not ask nor did I adress the AFSME increases during that period.

Please read my answers more carefully


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Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2011 at 11:58 am

Peter,
I did not ask you anything. I simply clarified a statement that you made to someone else stating that "Between 2006 and 2011 the Fire Chief and ALL OTHER NON-UNION personnel did receive salary increases." I clarified this because there is another union at the FD, AFSME (non firemen) which DID receive raises on my dime.
I won't go into all the other benefits they receiving, (or the new positions that were created at a salary cost of $250K) because I know you are waiting for the new thread for this.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 7, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Voter -

You post questions and then are perplexed when you don't get an answer?

Do you think people are just waiting to read your questions? If you want to ask someone something - especially a person you can easily contact directly - why don't you do that?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Pat - Thank you for stating that you provided clarification rather than I did not tell the truth.


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 8, 2011 at 8:13 am

POGO:
I already voted and not for Mr. Spencer. See below, he answered this question on this blog? I thought he would answer mine too? No agenda, just trying to find the truth.
_____________________________________________________________________

Posted by Bart Spencer, a resident of the Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Mike –




While I appreciate your efforts to disqualify me as a qualified candidate, I would highlight the following from my 25+ years in the emergency services industry. I began my career as a firefighter/paramedic in the Memphis area. I performed CPR many times and have 2 field saves; the first time I drove an engine was to a structure fire during a tornado; and I delivered a baby in the field – all before I was 25 years old. After moving to CA, I worked in the San Jose area as a first responder and field training officer. All while wearing a uniform.




In my spare time I taught first aid, CPR, lifeguarding, and water safety for the Red Cross for 30 years. Of the numerous people who I taught CPR to, some have actually used it and saved lives. Currently, I volunteer my time helping the youth in East Palo Alto through a non-profit sports program and help mentor Stanford students.




My time on the Board has been to serve my community; it was never about the badge. If I wear a T-shirt, it's because I'm proud of this organization. Having been a firefighter and paramedic, I have great respect for those who continue to do the work.




I am a qualified candidate.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 8, 2011 at 9:21 am

Voter - learn how to communicate with candidates and elected officials - this Forum is not the place to do that.

It is a shame that you voted without taking the trouble to ask the candidates your questions.


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Posted by HR Menlo Fire
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 8, 2011 at 11:27 am

The Fire Chief from MPFD does not have a degree. The fact is a union rep called a rep from menlo and said "your {MPFD} had applied for a the job in Santa Clara". Facts>> Closer to home, less headaches and closer to his mentor Doug Sporleder. Not to mention a raise within 5yrs


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm

"a union rep called a rep from menlo and said "your {MPFD} had applied for a the job in Santa Clara".

Let's hope that this is not the kind of 'intelligence' that is being used on the job.


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Posted by Thomas (Sharon Heights)
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Thomas (Sharon Heights) is a registered user.

Congratulations to Virginia and Rob. The voters have spoken loudly and sent a clear message to Schapelhouman and former/present fire board members that the citizens of Menlo Park are fed up with the impasse they have created with our firefighters. It's unfortunate The Almanac did not have the foresight to see this with their endorsement of tonight's losers and that union endorsements are not always considered an obligation when we candidates that have proven records of fiscal responsibility.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 8, 2011 at 11:53 pm

The message is if you spend enough money......

And the FF union spend almost $50,000 to get Rob Silano elected. Let's just wait and see how it all plays out before all you people start gloating. Maybe the fire fighters will get their raise after all.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 9, 2011 at 4:54 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

From: Peter Carpenter
Date: November 9, 2011 4:47:19 AM PST
To: Rob Silano , Virginia Chang Kiraly
Subject: Congratulations

Rob and Virginia,
Congratulations on your election to the MPFPD Board of Directors. You have been selected by your fellow citizens for a position of great responsibility. As one of the citizens whom you will be replacing, I thank you for your willingness to undertake this responsibility and I pledge to you my personal support in your service.


Peter


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 9, 2011 at 5:12 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

From: Peter Carpenter
Date: November 9, 2011 5:11:22 AM PST
To: Bart Spencer
Subject: Thank you for your service

Bart,
After twelve years you will be stepping down as a Director of the MPFPD. You have served well and honorably and leave behind a number of significant achievements.

Thank you from a fellow citizen.


Peter


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Posted by Chris MPFD tax payer
a resident of another community
on Nov 9, 2011 at 7:54 am

Today is truely a GREAT day for the citizens of the Menlo Park Fire District


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 9, 2011 at 8:19 am

While I wish the newest members of the Fire District well, I'll reserve my judgement about "GREAT days" until I see results.

In the past, when it comes to negotiating compensation and benefits for public employees, unfortunately our elected officials have been asleep at the wheel all too often. I sincerely hope that Silano and Kiraly are the exceptions.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 9, 2011 at 10:14 am

It will be interesting to see what they do when the union comes calling for repayment of their support. You can bet that day will be coming very soon.


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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Nov 9, 2011 at 11:45 am

I, too, want to thank Mr. Spencer for his 12 years of service on the Board, and Peter as well who stepped back in when needed and provided the fine leadership and good judgement he has always been known for. While I am disappointed in the outcome, that is democracy. Like POGO, I will wait to see the results.


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Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Union support isn't free.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Newly elected officials should enjoy the public's support and confidence - unless and until they prove they are not worthy.

I wish these two officials the best and trust they will act in the best interests of their citizens.


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Posted by ditto
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I will be watching to see if these two newbees give in to unreasonable union demands. Remember, the board represents the public/taxpayers.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Based on the concerns raised by the two Fire Board Directors who voted against this resolution at the last Board meeting I moved to reconsider this resolution at tonight's Board meeting. After an excellent discussion the resolution was modified to make it clear that the Board was authorizing the Fire Chief to make and/or recommend changes and not directing exactly how those changes would be made - leaving those details to the Fire Chief's discretion.

As this was my last meeting after 9 years of service on this Board I was pleased that the revised resolution was passed by a 5-0 vote. Over 98% of the actions of the Fire Board during my nine years of service have been similarly unanimous - a record untouched by any other local elected body.


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