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(Travel and Leisure)   Problem: Budget cuts force municipalities to cut firefighters. Solution: Tourists get the opportunity to fight a real-life, big-city fire. For a small fee, of course   (travelandleisure.com) divider line 67
    More: Stupid, austerities, firefighters  
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4386 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Sep 2012 at 12:14 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-09-13 05:57:02 PM  
supervised demolition should fit right in with the cities plans to reduce the size of the city
Link
i.huffpost.com
 
2012-09-13 05:57:22 PM  

lizyrd: zepher: If the liberals hadn't given police and fire such outrageous pay, pensions and benefits we wouldn't have such soaring local government deficits and we wouldn't have to entertain the thought of layoffs.

Yes, my $52,000 annual salary is absolutely outrageous. As is my enormous 401(a) (similar, but not the same as a 401(k)) retirement account.

Some other fun things that I'm "given:"
-Straight-time overtime. Every hour I work over my contractual 42 hour week gets paid at my regular rate. No time-and-a-half for me. I can even say no to OT, get ordered to work involuntary OT, and they still are allowed to pay straight-time.

-No social security. Most career fire fighters are ineligible for social security. It saves the city 6.2% of my gross pay. Even if I work another job that's paying FICA and have enough quarters to collect, a "windfall elimination" clause in the Social Security code cuts my benefit to less than 20% of what it should be. If I did have a defined benefit pension this wouldn't be as big a deal, but with a 401(a) it means that if I run out of money in retirement, I have zero income. We're not even talking living in HUD housing and eating cat food. We're talking broke. Which leads us into the next outrageous benefit I get:

-Mandatory retirement. Fire departments are one of the last places that are allowed to legally discriminate based on age. They toss me out on my ass the minute I turn 65. I could be working the night shift the day before my 65th birthday, and they'll call at midnight and send me home. Other people might want to retire, but look at their retirement accounts and have to decide to work a few extra years. I don't have that luxury.

I love my job. Despite all these issues, I think I'm pretty fairly compensated. I squirrel money away left and right so I will be able to live in retirement. I don't ask for a lot; enough to afford a decent house, a reliable car and a few modest pleasures. I guess in some people's eyes ...


may I ask, won't you be receiving a pension when you are forced to retire?
 
2012-09-13 06:09:17 PM  
The fire
i141.photobucket.com
 
2012-09-13 06:16:24 PM  

pute kisses like a man: may I ask, won't you be receiving a pension when you are forced to retire?


No. My retirement plan is a 401(a). There is no pension associated with my job, and there hasn't been for 30 years. Even my 401 is under attack. The taxpayers are up in arms that the city pays 9.6% of my base pay into the 401. They only get a match of 4% at their job, why do the firemen get such a huge contribution? And they plug their ears and scream "LALALALALA" when someone tries to explain that we're ineligible for Social Security. IF we had SSI, the city would be paying 6.2% of our gross in FICA, which they're not. I make 52,000 base, around 65,000 gross. Which is a bigger number, 9.6% of 52,000 or (6.2% of 65,000)+(4% of 52,000)? But math is hard, and they don't want to hear anything that explains why I might get a benefit that is better than theirs, even if it only appears to be better on the surface.
 
2012-09-13 06:29:12 PM  

lizyrd: pute kisses like a man: may I ask, won't you be receiving a pension when you are forced to retire?

No. My retirement plan is a 401(a). There is no pension associated with my job, and there hasn't been for 30 years. Even my 401 is under attack. The taxpayers are up in arms that the city pays 9.6% of my base pay into the 401. They only get a match of 4% at their job, why do the firemen get such a huge contribution? And they plug their ears and scream "LALALALALA" when someone tries to explain that we're ineligible for Social Security. IF we had SSI, the city would be paying 6.2% of our gross in FICA, which they're not. I make 52,000 base, around 65,000 gross. Which is a bigger number, 9.6% of 52,000 or (6.2% of 65,000)+(4% of 52,000)? But math is hard, and they don't want to hear anything that explains why I might get a benefit that is better than theirs, even if it only appears to be better on the surface.


Thanks. I wasn't trying to be snarky. I work for a firm that is representing a fire fighters pension fund in some matters. But I assume every state/locality does it differently. Plus, I know very little about retirement stuff and pensions. I just know a lot about the specific matter for which we are assisting a ff's pension fund.

And, quite plainly, these certain firefighters have pensions.
 
2012-09-13 06:57:38 PM  

pute kisses like a man: Thanks. I wasn't trying to be snarky. I work for a firm that is representing a fire fighters pension fund in some matters. But I assume every state/locality does it differently. Plus, I know very little about retirement stuff and pensions. I just know a lot about the specific matter for which we are assisting a ff's pension fund.

And, quite plainly, these certain firefighters have pensions.



My situation is the exception, not the rule. Most fire fighters still do have pensions, but the number is falling. I can think of two major cities and a handful of minor departments in my state that are placing all new hires into 401s instead of defined pensions. The reality is that there is a lot of unfunded public pension liability out there, though there are causes that extend way beyond the "greedy unions bankrupting cities with the help of liberal politicians" that was mentioned upthread. The biggest problem is that many states and cities did not keep up on their contributions to pension funds. Governments "deferred" payments into the funds year after year, and then start screaming that the sky is falling when the fund is half of what it should be. The public naturally assumes that it is the pension system itself that is the problem, not the fact that the government has been underfunding it for decades and now is up against the wall. On the other hand, there are municipalities that were responsible and have very solvent pensions. A friend that works for another department has a pension that is funded to 250%, another friend in another department is in a pension that is funded at less than 40%.
 
2012-09-13 07:32:23 PM  

jedihirsch: Look at the photo

[static1.travelandleisure.com image 380x320]

Some how I don't think New York's Bravest are leaving their trucks in Detroit.


Well, you don't expect vacationing firefighters to travel in a Winnebago, do you?
 
2012-09-13 08:26:40 PM  

BronyMedic: The Median Pay of a Firefighter in 2010 was 45,270 a year, or 21.22 an hour, with most working 24 or 48 hour shifts.


Hey! If they're working 48 hours a day they're actually making $90,500 or so per year!
 
2012-09-13 11:12:31 PM  
Those of you who volunteered to be injected with praying mantis DNA, I've got some good news and some bad news. Bad news is we're postponing those tests indefinitely. Good news is we've got a much better test for you: fighting an army of mantis men. Pick up a rifle and follow the yellow line. You'll know when the test starts.
 
2012-09-14 02:55:38 AM  
Won't it be awesome when they open this option for police departments?

"For just $500 a day, we'll give you a gun and the right to beat the hell out of anyone who looks at you askance. Bonus: If they fight back, you can kill them or send them to jail forever."
 
2012-09-14 06:42:30 PM  

WordyGrrl: Bonus: If they fight back, you can kill them or send them to jail forever


if you're in Orange County, they don't even have to fight back - they can be running away, you can still kill them without any repercussions! I bet this could get better than a mere $500/day...this could be a real money-maker for cities!
 
2012-09-14 10:30:40 PM  

BronyMedic: zepher: If the liberals hadn't given police and fire such outrageous pay, pensions and benefits we wouldn't have such soaring local government deficits and we wouldn't have to entertain the thought of layoffs.

Yeah, you're right. Firefighers and Police don't deserve living wages.

We should pay them minimum wage like everyone else in the United States that doesn't own their own business. That'll teach them to be bootstrappy!

The Median Pay of a Firefighter in 2010 was 45,270 a year, or 21.22 an hour, with most working 24 or 48 hour shifts.

/isn't it nice to be show just how much of a partisan boot licker you are?


Isn't it nice to see what an uniformed moron you are?
The average pay for a San Bernardino firefighter is $130,000.
The average income in SB is $40,000.
The SB police chief made upwards of $230,000.
On top of their pay they get a 3% at 50 for retirement while not contributing to that retirement.
On top off that they get gold plated medical plans that they do not contribute to the costs of.

And those 24 to 48 hour shifts are spent out on the road fighting fires and assisting people, right?
Name another profession where you get paid to sleep, cook dinner, workout and play cards while on the clock.
Spare me the vitriol.
I'm a public employee that has seen the waste, the outrageous wages and benefits first hand.
 
2012-09-14 10:57:25 PM  

zepher: Isn't it nice to see what an uniformed moron you are?


Oh look. Someone learned how to cherry pick. How nice.

Less than 10% of the PAID Firefighters in the Nation make over 60,000 dollars a year per the Bureau of Labor and Statistics of the United States Government. That includes their yearly benefits. That doesn't count the volunteer firefighters of the United States, which make up the majority of Firefighters in the US outnumbering the paid ones.

zepher: The average pay for a San Bernardino firefighter is $130,000.
The average income in SB is $40,000.
The SB police chief made upwards of $230,000.
On top of their pay they get a 3% at 50 for retirement while not contributing to that retirement.
On top off that they get gold plated medical plans that they do not contribute to the costs of.


LOL! Gold Plated Medical Plans? You're joking, right? I've got a "county insurance" plan as a Sheriff's Volunteer. The same one that the Fire Department gets. It's not "Gold" by any means.

zepher: And those 24 to 48 hour shifts are spent out on the road fighting fires and assisting people, right?


If you're talking a combination Fire and EMS department that does medical response, you bet your ass they are. When I started, we worked 48 hour shifts, with 8 hours of sleep at the unit I worked at an average during those shifts. I know units in our municipality that run 22 calls in a 24 hour period.

zepher: Name another profession where you get paid to sleep, cook dinner, workout and play cards while on the clock.


Let's see:

Oil rig workers
Critical Care/Flight Medical Personnel
On-call pilots (mandated by the FAA to have downtime/sleep)
Cruise ship medical staff - hell, Cruise ship staff period
Physicians and nurse practitioners - especially residents and fellows
The United States Military

Those are off the top of my head. People who are paid to do just what you state.

You mean the dinner they buy out of their pocket rather than going to a fast food joint or the local chinese place? The 8 hours of "sleep time" they are federally mandated to have per OSHA requirements, but almost never are guaranteed to get? The workout equipment they buy out of pocket?

And you're telling me you've never browsed Fark while at work and not doing anything? Even once?

Cry me a river about your "Government Waste" bullshiat, you "public worker"/troll. You're probably in a union yourself, do you realize how farkin' hypocritical you sound? These people work their asses off, ESPECIALLY if they live in a large city.
 
2012-09-15 02:54:41 PM  
I am indeed a public work and no, I am not a member of the union.
Our union constantly pushes to vote a straight Democratic party line regardless of the candidate's qualifications or policies.
I know plenty of urban cops and firefighters and they get outrageous pay and benefits.
Stockton went BK largely because 80% of their budget went to pay for public safety. How can that be even remotely justified?
San Bernardino's budget has a 75% chunk of their budget for public safety.

And most of the vocations you listed do not get publicly funded retirement plans with the ability to retire at 51 with 90% of their pay as a pension.

Like I said, I'm a public employee that will most definitely see my already meager retirement hacked because when pension reform comes down they are going to hold up the outrageous retirement plans as proof that every last public employee plan needs to be curtailed.

Hell, even Gov Brown's retirement reform largely spared police and fire from any real pain.
Public safety still have better plans than regular employees had before the reform.
Why not just even everyone out and not make the retirement age for a non-safety employee 67 years old?
Pay and benefits may not be all that great in the sticks but just about every urban public safety employee is way over compensated.
 
2012-09-15 06:15:41 PM  

zepher: I am indeed a public work and no, I am not a member of the union.
Our union constantly pushes to vote a straight Democratic party line regardless of the candidate's qualifications or policies.
I know plenty of urban cops and firefighters and they get outrageous pay and benefits.
Stockton went BK largely because 80% of their budget went to pay for public safety. How can that be even remotely justified?
San Bernardino's budget has a 75% chunk of their budget for public safety.

And most of the vocations you listed do not get publicly funded retirement plans with the ability to retire at 51 with 90% of their pay as a pension.

Like I said, I'm a public employee that will most definitely see my already meager retirement hacked because when pension reform comes down they are going to hold up the outrageous retirement plans as proof that every last public employee plan needs to be curtailed.

Hell, even Gov Brown's retirement reform largely spared police and fire from any real pain.
Public safety still have better plans than regular employees had before the reform.
Why not just even everyone out and not make the retirement age for a non-safety employee 67 years old?
Pay and benefits may not be all that great in the sticks but just about every urban public safety employee is way over compensated.


I'm non-union. I dislike the politics, and the general promotion of "dumbing down education" that the unions are guilty of. They serve an important purpose, don't get me wrong, but I won't support an entity which treats my profession as an "add-on" cert to their Firefighter Is.

That said, yes. I got angry at that statement there. 10% (The number who make above 60,000 people) of 300,000 Paid Firefighters in the United States - 30,000 people - are not to blame for the problems every municipality are encountering. While there may be some areas where they enjoy vastly generous benefits - perhaps sometimes more so than they are warrented, this is an aggregious attempt at scapegoating a group of people. And that ignores the fact there are over 800,000 people in the United States who work free-of-charge as Volunteers at their fire departments.

Get mad at city managers who are spending federal, state, and local grant money to buy party boats and armored vehicles for their areas
 
2012-09-15 06:53:10 PM  
I never lumped the volunteers in with the overpaid city firefighters.
Local volunteer firefighters should be given something for their service, even if it is a meager uniform or equipment allowance.
Volunteers perform an invaluable service to their community and they should be regularly thanked for that.

Even in urban areas, the real crime when it comes to first responder pay is ambulance personnel.
Out here they make barely above minimum wage and they very often are the first ones to treat a victim.

My disdain is aimed at the very overpaid public safety employee that gets to retire at 51 with 90% pay and contributes little or nothing into that retirement and benefits.
Most public service is a thankless job but I do grow tired of the hero worship of police and fire personnel.
I used to risk my life every day for the public good but because I neither wore a badge nor carried a firearm I was considered just another public employee. I've been to far too many funerals for people I worked with that were killed on the job and all we ever got were complaints from the public because there were too many government vehicles at a church or cemetery.
I'm just glad I'm no longer out in the field playing with my life every day.

I would never wish anyone any ill will out there actually serving the public because they love what they do and not because of some benefits package so stay safe out there.
 
2012-09-15 08:35:17 PM  

zepher: I never lumped the volunteers in with the overpaid city firefighters.
Local volunteer firefighters should be given something for their service, even if it is a meager uniform or equipment allowance.
Volunteers perform an invaluable service to their community and they should be regularly thanked for that.

Even in urban areas, the real crime when it comes to first responder pay is ambulance personnel.
Out here they make barely above minimum wage and they very often are the first ones to treat a victim.

My disdain is aimed at the very overpaid public safety employee that gets to retire at 51 with 90% pay and contributes little or nothing into that retirement and benefits.
Most public service is a thankless job but I do grow tired of the hero worship of police and fire personnel.
I used to risk my life every day for the public good but because I neither wore a badge nor carried a firearm I was considered just another public employee. I've been to far too many funerals for people I worked with that were killed on the job and all we ever got were complaints from the public because there were too many government vehicles at a church or cemetery.
I'm just glad I'm no longer out in the field playing with my life every day.

I would never wish anyone any ill will out there actually serving the public because they love what they do and not because of some benefits package so stay safe out there.


See. Now I feel bad on going off on you. That was reasonable and level headed as an explanation of your position.

Golly.

There ARE municipalities and departments out there that are outrageous. I won't argue that with you. And I do agree, with some exceptions, that allowing most people to retire with a pension at 50, where they go and work other Fire-related jobs, is ridiculous.

But for every one department like that, there are dozens of Fire Departments that don't even pay their firefighters a living wage. There are Government firefighters out there right now making little more than minimum wage, while still required to have the training that a Firefighter in LA has to have.
 
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