Tax hikes eyed as way to save El Segundo Fire Department

Full story: Daily Breeze

As El Segundo's budget woes came into sharper focus late last year, city leaders began looking at a proposed merger with the Los Angeles County Fire Department as one way to fill a multimillion-dollar budget gap.

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Since: Apr 10

Los Angeles, CA

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#1
Jul 26, 2010
 

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Councilman Don Brann would rather tax the heck out of the residents of the City of El Segundo than to make a serious money saving move of merging with the county Fire Dept. thus saving jobs and helping to bring down the budget deficit.

It is well projected that by merging with the County Fire Dept., the city would save approx. 4-5 milliion in costs. But let's don't do that it would be more fun to tax our residents and make them pay more money for this and for that. Yes sir, that's how you do it, tax the people tax the people!
Hopeful

AOL

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#2
Jul 26, 2010
 

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They will probably end up merging like many of the other cities already have.... but then there will be layoffs... more job losses... that's all that CA needs!
Greed is Not Good

United States

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#3
Jul 26, 2010
 

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Cut the firefighters cushy pay and unecessary overtime. Most importantly, curtail the obscene CalPERS pension benefits that allow them to get 90% of their salary starting at age 50!!! That will balance your budget and keep you out of bankruptcy and higher taxes!

Since: Apr 10

Los Angeles, CA

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#4
Jul 26, 2010
 

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Hopeful wrote:
They will probably end up merging like many of the other cities already have.... but then there will be layoffs... more job losses... that's all that CA needs!
I believe that is what El Segundo was already proposing anyway. Merging, may cause a few to be laid-off however, the savings will become a "permanent part" of the budget setting process. A four to five million dollar savings each year is nothing sneeze at.
Other Options

Los Angeles, CA

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#5
Jul 26, 2010
 

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Don Brann is pulling a $15,500.21 monthly, and $186,002.52 annual pension as former Superintendent of Wiseburn Elementary.

The solution is cutting safety salaries by 10% minimum, and raising how much the city employees contribut to their pensions. The other city employees should takes a 5% pay cut, they cost way less the police & fire, and take the bulk of the city's annual budget.

El Segundo has a spending problem. Don Brann is part of the problem. Raising business taxes will not help the city out this hole, a self-inflicted hole. Here is what Don Brann has done since being elected in 2008:

El Segundo City Council raised water taxes over $15 million in the past 4 years. Brann approved a water rate increase last year. The El Segundo City Council gave its City Manager a 15% pay raise in 2009 to $250,000 annually. The El Segundo Police Chief earned $425,775 in 2009. His lifetime pension:$17,517.78 a month, and $210,213.36 annually

32 of the 54 El Segundo firefighters earned over $100,000 last year in salary. Average salary was $176,118:

Fire Chief -$270,052
Fire Captain -$258,868
Fire Captain -$258,709
Deputy Fire Chief -$258,533
Battalion Chief -$250,330
Fire Captain -$228,263
Fire Paramedic -$233,616
Fire Captain -$220,145
Fire Captain -$206,257
Fire Captain $205,744
Fire Captain -$202,375
Fire Paramedic -$196,031
Firefighter -$194,558
Fire Paramedic -$193,381
Fire Captain -$185,436
Fire Engineer -$180,740
Fire Paramedic -$179,759
Fire Engineer -$176,601
Fire Captain -$174,661
Fire Paramedic -$168,341
Fire Paramedic -$163,459
Firefighter -$161,164
Fire Engineer -$160,000
Firefighter -$121,519
Firefighter -$118,953
Fire Paramedic -$116,571
Fire Engineer -$113,403
Fire Paramedic -$112,530
Firefighter -$109,027
Firefighter -$108,857
Firefighter -$102,034
Fire Engineer -$99,794
Other Options

Los Angeles, CA

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#6
Jul 26, 2010
 

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Merging with the County Fire is not the first option the city should take. It should find other options that cut operating costs and salaries first. Cutting salaries and increasing pension contribution should be the first option on the table. The city faces 5 more years of budget deficits of at least $4-5 million dollars.

The City of El Segundo has been extremely kind and incredibly generous with salaries and benefits for its police and fire personnel over the past decade, nearly doubling their base salaries. Now that city is in deep peril with its budget deficit, the city has asked for salary cuts and changes to the benefit packages they offer. The El Segundo Firefighters have so far refused, and want to abandon the El Segundo residents that have been so supportive of them. They want to join the County and leave, never to be seen again.

Taxes won't fix the problem. It will just give the City Council more money to waste.
Concerned

Harbor City, CA

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#7
Jul 26, 2010
 

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This is B.S. why is this happening. We citizens are the only ones that can take our government back. The citizens of El Segundo need to react now before it's too late. The citizens of Bell demanded answers and look what happened. Say no to higher taxes, continue to pay only what you have been paying and no more they will have to adjust from within
South Bay

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#8
Jul 26, 2010
 

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County Fire is the best answer for a small department like el Segundo.There is absolutely nothing a small un professional department like El Segundo or any of the other beach cities can do better than or even as good as LA County Fire. The salaries are high but similar to other agencies.
Johnny C

Long Beach, CA

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#9
Jul 26, 2010
 

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Waiting to get a referendum on the ballot to obtain a positive voter response of "Yes ... Tax me more" is a waste of time and energy. It will only lead to a bigger deficit.

Wow ... after seeing "other options" breakdown of the salaries that these folks are receiving, I can only hope that Attorney General Jerry Brown catches wind of these salaries.

I thought the city of Bell was bad ... El Segundo is not far behind with these rediculous wages. No wonder alot of cities in California are going belly-up. The self-serving pays that these folks receive is rediculous. And to believe that they are city servants? I know that you have to look out for number one ... but my god, those salaries are rediculous. Let the fire and police department both get outsourced in El Segundo.
Payne

Los Angeles, CA

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#10
Jul 26, 2010
 

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You can't expect Four Seasons' service and accomadations at Motel 6 rates. Pay for the ESFD and keep your extraordinary service or save money and contract with the County. County Fire is good enough for Malibu and Palos Verdes.
The Shadow

Long Beach, CA

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#11
Jul 26, 2010
 

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As El Segundo's population increases a lot during the day, just keep your filthy PD officers out there hiding around every corner. ES has almost achieved ticketing every person I know who works in the city. Must not be enough revenue. Looks like guys are getting paid good for keeping those engines shiny. Just how many fires does ES have yearly? Just asking.
Richard Cory

Valencia, CA

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#12
Jul 26, 2010
 

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PROBLEM is the El Segundo Firefighters UNION!
"Other Options" is tell you what these firefighters make that are working.
There are 27 "retired employees who are making OVER $100,000. a year for doing nothing EXCEPT a corrupt UNION PAY OFF CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS for their pay increases and these retirements.
The MOST DANGEROUS situation an El Segundo fighter faces on a daily bases is NOT form fighting fires E.S.has had ONE fire about every 3 years THE REAL EVERY DAY DANGER IS SLIPPING IN SOAPY WATER WHILE WASHING THE FIRE EQUIPMENT.
ON top of that with that joke work schedule 48/96
where a firefighter works 2 days and then does not have to return for 4 days explains why their is massive guaranteed overtime accrued every year.
I don't want anyone to cry OH they work 24/7 B.S.
the El Segundo police work 24/7, BUT you don't find them UNDRESSED AND SLEEPING IN THE BACK OF A POLICE CAR WAITING FOR A CALL.
Of course IF the fire department worked a 8 or 10 hour day then they couldn't live in places like orange county 60 miles away OR in San Diego county 80 miles away.
Less than ten firefighters LIVE in El Segundo or within a 10 mile radius.
while other firefighters work 24/7 E.S UNION firefighters get a good night sleep ALMOST every night.
It's good to get paid to sleep, BETTER WHEN IT'S
OVERTIME AND EVEN BETTER WHEN IT "PADS" your retirement.
Don't tax everyone else to pay off campaign contributions, Mayor Bush received OVER $5,400 in his last election and it came from the firefighters union.( source; ss.ca.gov )
Lets keep the El Segundo fire Department, just get rid of the union.
Other Options

Los Angeles, CA

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#13
Jul 26, 2010
 

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The city should take various alternatives and implement them before they sweep away the fire department. First cut high salaries and overly generous benefits, set ceilings for banked vacation and sick leave to say 300 hours or under a "use it or lose it" policy, then see what the budget says. Nobody has done that yet.(Option)

We have police officer and firefighters banking over 2000 hours of leave and sick pay, cashing out at hundreds of thousands of dollars when they retire. That needs to end. That too is bankrupting the city.(option)

Second, with the possible elimination of ESFD, the city will lose its first-rate, town-based paramedic ambulance services, and take a loss of $750,000 in ambulance billing revenues.

The average cost of a dual role firefighter paramedic is over $125,000 annually and most of the calls (75%) are for medical emergencies, not fires. I recommend the city take the paramedic program from the fire department, cut staffing down to 12 firefighters, and create an EMS department of 15 employees separate from the fire department. Pay those paramedics around $50k to $60,000 a year, and you will save millions of dollars. See how that looks in the budget, then if it all fails, then and only then go to county fire.(option)

That way, the city keeps its ambulances, local control, and County fire can come in after all has tried and failed.

The big issue here is El Segundo City Leaders have decided that residents need platinum-coated public safety services, and are paying their staff to work like LA City, Long Beach, and other big cities over 400,000 residents.

We've all been led to believe the city will burn down if we cut back, but it is just the politics of fear. El Segundo is part of a great fire mutual aid system, and if El Segundo needs help, the South Bay and County Fire will be there to assist. Going to County Fire will just lead to El Segundo residents subsidizing other residents in Del Aire, Holly Glen, Hawthorne, Athens, and Lennox. If El Segundo residents think those El Segundo-based fire engines staffed by the county are gonnna spend a majority of their time in the fire stations like they do now, they are in for a big surprise when County Fire uses El Segundo as a base to cover everything west of Inglewood and Gardena. Read the report, it says just that.

It's time to downsize, and given that El Segundo has been so incredibly generous to their safety staff, it is now time for the police and fire to reciprocate and extend some of that professional courtesy back to the residents. Taking a pay cut and freezing salaries is not asking more than any other resident has had to endure over the past 3 years. Many of El Segundo's residents have been seen worse, layoffs, loss of a job, or closing their doors.

Taxes are not the first steps, and closing the El Segundo fire department should be the last desperate measure taken after all other attempts at solutions have failed.

Don Brann, for a former educator, has a pretty limited realm. We should be teaching looking at the big picture, especially in economics. There are not just two options as he would have us all believe - layoffs or raising taxes. There are many other options, the problem is that Brann is unwilling to put other "good, viable" options on the table for consideration.
Other Options

Los Angeles, CA

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#14
Jul 26, 2010
 

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Two El Segundo firefighters actually live in town: the Fire Chief, and the one firefigher/resident who filed the petition referendum, Firefighter Partlow, whose name is on the letter to the city.

The rest other 50-plus firefighters are spread out between Paso Robles and Laguna Niguel,(near San Clemente).

This brilliant City Council also paid $42 million-plus to lease that stupid Parking Garage on Richmond and Grand Avenue, the one that sits mostly unused. The one that our businesses were supposed to reimburse for parking exemptions. Mayor Busch and Bill Fisher gave them a free pass on that too!

We don't have a tax problem, we have a city council that is stuck on stupid.
joe t

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#15
Jul 26, 2010
 

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Yea thats a great idea "other options' get some 18 year old kids just out of paramedic school to run your ambulance service. Then it becomes nothing more than a stepping stone to get to other agencies. the quality of employees is not what would want. well im not worried about your idea anyway because it is so ludicris even your precious carl jacobson knows its ridiculous. You are a ridiculous man with a ridiculous life.
oldbill256

Newport Beach, CA

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#16
Jul 26, 2010
 

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I am a long time ES resident and would be happy to see the City outsource its fire fighters to LACOFD, if its cost effective. On that note why not consider other City departments ESPD to LACOSD, City maint services to other LA County agencies, Building and Safety to LA County Building and Safety. Let's not look to propgate the welfare and cushy retirement of City workers at the expense of City residents.
Real Option

Camarillo, CA

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#17
Jul 26, 2010
 

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Hey Other Options,

Get off the marry-go-round and just go County Fire! End the nonsense. Are you getting ready to run for city council? If so, good luck. Even you can go and collect that PERS retirement after gouging the city on a part-time basis like those fools in Bell.

Good luck to all the residents of El Segundo. Your fire department will never be the same no matter what...
Voted NO on Y and Z

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#18
Jul 26, 2010
 

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The people who run the cities NEVER LEARN !!!!!
Concerned

Harbor City, CA

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#19
Jul 26, 2010
 

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I can see by the way I was judged the complainers have no back bone. You all deserve to get taxed to death then. The first order of city business will be give themselves a big fat raise mark my words. You are all a bunch of cowards and losers.
Concerned

Harbor City, CA

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#20
Jul 26, 2010
 

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oldbill256 wrote:
I am a long time ES resident and would be happy to see the City outsource its fire fighters to LACOFD, if its cost effective. On that note why not consider other City departments ESPD to LACOSD, City maint services to other LA County agencies, Building and Safety to LA County Building and Safety. Let's not look to propagate the welfare and cushy retirement of City workers at the expense of City residents.
Its a great idea and a huge step in the right direction, the city knows the citizens are too lazy to do just that. JUST DO IT

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