County Administrator Michelle Baker continues to stand by her assessment that Pasco County Firefighters are paid competitive wages when compared to surrounding departments despite history and all current information to the contrary. She maintains the Cody study as her source, a study that has still not been released for public consumption. Members of the Pasco Professional Firefighters have repeatedly stated their belief that the pay study is flawed, if not a complete fabrication. IAFF Local 4420 members question the validity of the pay study, considering the County negotiating team refuses to release the study so that it can be fact checked for accuracy. The Firefighters claim they have good reason for their mistrust, considering it is reported that the previous County Administrator John Gallagher attempted to submit a dramatically altered version of a previous Cody pay study during a contract negotiation; not realizing the Local had already obtained the original document. History has shown that demonstrable facts are rarely considered by the county administration when dealing with their Firefighters. An independent Special Magistrate Charles Hall was brought in to sort through the facts in 2007 & recommended across the board raises of 20% or more after determining that Pasco Firefighters were in some instances paid as much as 40% below their local professional equivalents. The county then unapologetically ignored the special magistrate’s opinion. In point of fact, the recently embattled & retired Personnel Director Barbara DeSimone’s only response reportedly was to laugh hysterically when she was asked if the Firefighters could expect to receive the reparations suggested by the magistrate. In the years since 2007, little has changed regarding Pasco County’s Firefighters except rising costs of living and inflation. When factoring inflation compared to 2007 wages Pasco Firefighters are only making 1.3% more today, than they were at the time of this judgement. Pasco County Firefighters have promised to release fact based pay comparisons related to a comprehensive regional pay study performed by Hernando County called the Evergreen Study. Hernando County’s Administration implemented the results this study for all of their employees to ensure that they offered competitive compensation and were capable of attracting, employing, and retaining the most qualified job seekers. Currently, a 15 year Firefighter/EMT of Pasco Fire Rescue does not even make the starting pay he would make if he left today and started working for Hillsborough, where he would work approximately 400 less hours, pay much less for family health insurance benefits, and receive many benefits that Pasco County administration states Pasco Firefighters will never see. Even though the names have changed, Pasco County’s administration seems to be content travelling the same broken path of training Firefighters for other departments in region. That is good for neighboring fire departments who are again, beginning to hire as the economy recovers; and bad for the citizens of Pasco County. The best and brightest Firefighters Pasco County has, new employees and old, are being offered no incentive to stay within the ranks of Pasco Fire Rescue. In fact, it appears they are being given every reason to leave.
Please contact your County Commissioners and tell them how you feel about Michelle Baker’s treatment of your Firefighters. Tell them you want the best of the best protecting your lives, family, and property. Your Firefighters are there to help you whenever you call 911, now they need your help.
Commissioner Ted Schrader- firstname.lastname@example.org Commissioner Mike Moore- email@example.com Commissioner Kathryn Starkey- firstname.lastname@example.org Commissioner Mike Wells- email@example.com Commission Jack Mariano- firstname.lastname@example.org
After 10 years of promises and little else, Pasco County has broken their biggest promise to the Firefighters of Local 4420. On April 10th the lead negotiator for the County under the direction of Michelle Baker stated that under no circumstances will Pasco Firefighters see implementation of a step plan contrary to 10 years of a contractual promise to develop and implement one. A step plan is crucial to ...correcting years of wage compression and sub-standard monetary and lack of industry standard benefits. Benefits Michelle Baker promised she would dramatically improve if Firefighters waived their right to $2.2 million dollars of contractually owed raises 2 years ago, so that Pasco County could hire more Firefighters and utilitize the Safer Grant offered by the federal government. It should also be noted that the step plan the local proposed to the county came in well under the budget the County stated they were willing to spend on wages for Firefighters this year. Michelle Baker seems to have no interest in addressing the Firefighter's concerns as the department continues to hemorrhage firefighters to nearby departments. 7 of the last 25 Firefighters who were trained by Pasco County taxpayer dollars will now use their expertise to serve other municipalities and Pasco will hire more green recruits to fill their boots, continuing the endless cycle of waste of taxpayer money to train Firefighters to spend their career in places other than Pasco. It has been reported that many more intend to leave as soon as possible. While Michelle Baker was quoted as saying that "experience matters and takes time" in regards to dispatchers and Sheriff Officers at a recent BOCC meeting, where she attempted to justify the deficiencies of the 911 dispatching system; she evidently does not believe that the same applies to Pasco Firefighters and the citizen's right to experienced emergency medicine and fire suppression services. Please contact your County Commissioners and tell them how you feel about Michelle Baker's treatment of your Firefighters and mismanagement of taxpayer funds. "Premier Counties" shouldn't break their promises to their 1st responders. Your Firefighters are there to help you whenever you call 911 and now they need your help.
There has been so much talk recently about things like containing costs, lowering taxes, and those who work in public safety being overpaid - particularly firefighters - that it could make your head spin. We've all done the "simple math," crunched the numbers, and it all seems to boil down to a simple question. What are firefighters worth?
I guess that depends. We live in a country that seems to have forgotten what our priorities are. A man can be a skilled athlete who happens to throw and catch a football well, and make millions and millions of dollars to do so. And we as a society are not only OK with that, but we gather in front of our televisions and cheer that man on. Meanwhile, a firefighter kisses his children goodbye before every shift knowing the harsh reality that it very well could be the last time he will see them, and he is fighting tooth and nail for decent health coverage and substantial pay to support those children.
He is the man that you call when your elderly father has a stroke. He is the person that will extract your 16-year-old son from a mangled vehicle on the highway in the middle of the night. He is the person that will be there in a heartbeat when your newborn infant stops breathing. He is the person who is exposed to countless dangerous scenarios and has seen horrific things during his career that would psychologically haunt most of us for the rest of our lives. We trust him to save our homes and belongings in the event of a disastrous fire, and we trust him to keep us breathing and our hearts beating when we face our most critical moments. What is he worth to you?
One of the most dangerous occupations in the world is becoming even more hazardous for
its workers — but a new study suggests that the people we expect to protect us are not being adequately protected against the risks of their profession.
Florida's pension plan has almost recovered from a beating it took at the hands of financial markets starting in the late summer of 2011, the state's top money manager said Monday.
The latest quarterly report by the state's investment consultants shows the State Board of Administration narrowly beat its performance benchmarks, restoring the value of the pension fund to about $118.5 billion. That still left it about $10 billion below where it was at the start of the fiscal year, but that deficit that has all but been erased in recent months.