Dean Fletcher, president of the City of Las Vegas Firefighters union joins us to give his side of the story on budget cuts. His union will not lose any jobs but the city will trim 200 city workers as a result of an $80,000,000 budget shortfall.
Just another example of more stuff the City does wnat to share with the public/DMFDRT –May 22, 2010 00:00:00 AM
You said you were going to post the financial information that Mr. Fletcher was talking about on the show with you. I see that the contract was posted but what about his back up information. Very interesting to me as a citizen of Las Vegas, what is the true financial situation in the city while they reduce public safety and layoff employees.
You should share that information.Dan –May 22, 2010 09:25:02 AM
What I never heard are the hours worked laid out in plain English. The avg. 40hr employee works 2080 hrs a year whereas the firefighters are working a 56hr week straight time (NOT including OT)working 2912hrs straight time annually. Tack on OT and they can work an EXTRA 0-1200+hrs on top of the 2912hrs straight time. How much is working that many hours worth? I think $55-65k base is reasonable. The 40hr employee would make much more than $55-65K annually because OT would be accrued for that extra 900+hrs worked. If the City doesn't like the numbers then either hire more firefighters to cut the OT pay or implement the "Brown-outs". But don't be upset when those brown-outs cause the response to your emergency to INCREASE from the 4-6 minute you now have to 10-12+ minutes. The another issue that never makes it into the media is the "private ambulance service". While there is a "dual" response between the FD's & privates what they never tell you is that they have the option of pulling their TRUMP card "UTR" (unable to respond, which happens often), which means that they won't be making it to your emergency. The FD DOES NOT have this option they are coming regardless.Balad –May 20, 2010 12:22:54 PM
Working 24hr shifts allows the cities to pay less money overall. If they were to work less hours, it would require the city to hire on more personnel, as well as to pay more overtime to comply with FLSA. If working 24hours does not cause overtime, I'm wondering what your actual concern is so it may be addressed properly.Gerald –May 20, 2010 11:49:25 AM
When I was a fire fighter, we sought a 4-minute response time, in order to knock down any fire BEFORE it could spread to be of any significant size. And we ACHIEVED that! I remember personally knocking down 3 fires that WOULD have destroyed an entire house, but were confined to one room.
It is also patently obvious to me that only the UNION-represented public employees are being threatened and 'strangled' to reduce their pay. The arrogant, greedy, 2 to 5 hundred thousand dollar per year MANAGEMENT BUREAUCRATS are the ones that are overpaid!
The secret 'class' or 'caste' system that clearly exists in Government is the PROBLEM here! Until the clowns that are DEMANDING these 'concessions' have THEIR pay cut by 29%, there is NOTHING MORE to DISCUSS here! Joseph –May 20, 2010 00:00:00 AM
It doesn't sound like effective use of time to have them working 24 hour shifts. And we all know in reality they don't work the full 24 hours. I actually work 12-14 hours a day and it is not possible to work the extra 8-10.
It gets old hearing about the danger and the heroics of firefighters and the pay scale seems out of line with the rest of the country. Obviously the whole thing needs to be restructured.Doug –May 20, 2010 00:00:00 AM
It seems like a few callers have been angry about the firefighters making a lot of money on overtime. What these people seem to fail to realize is that they are already working 56 hours a week, away from family, and they are WORKING for that money and not able to be with their family. Also, this overtime is not guaranteed, and the city is the one that can give or take that overtime.Steve –May 20, 2010 00:00:00 AM
James T: You are miss informed as the firefighters for the City of Las Vegas have not taken there Cost of Living raises for the last year and have already agreed to give it up again this next year. Ryan –May 20, 2010 10:47:31 AM
Bob, Please watch this video it will help explain why it is not just fires that make Firefighting a dangerous job. This does not factor in the Cancers attributed to the toxins firesfighters face on every fire or the infectous diseases delt with on a daily basis.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q01QTUL0StwRon –May 20, 2010 10:47:16 AM
As to the wages a firefighter earns it is different for every firefighter depending on how many hours of overtime they work. I myself have worked an additional 292.5 hours to staff emergency apparatus this year. I have been compensated a total of $11825. This compensation is above normal as I am also a Paramedic and a Hazmat Specialists and paid for it. The citizens in turn were provided continuous services in fire suppression, emergency advanced life support, and Hazardous Material release mitigation. Each person has there own opinion that I may be overpaid or not, but when I have been a part of countless life saving emergency calls the question remains how much is your or your families lives worth. Is a lesser trained longer emergency response acceptable. For these questions I ask is it acceptable to burn down the house or let your child die inside the fire because you said yes.
With an attempt to reduce overtime costs, the city has decided to shut units down rather than hire the necessary personnel. The City Council must feel the answer is yes. They are in Vegas after all. It must be acceptable.Ryan –May 20, 2010 10:41:09 AM
I am flabberghasted by some of the comments I heard from callers during this discussion. The gentleman who stated "The firefighters act as though each day they put their lives on the line... let's face it, there are not that many fires", is an example of the pure ignorance of the actual responsiblities of our firefighters. It is not their lives on the line, it is YOURS!! It's YOU in the car accident, it's YOUR child that just fell 7 ft. off the jungle gym, it's YOUR wife that just had a stroke and needs help. As for the comment, "Dr.'s are on call and don't get paid for that time", well, the firefighters are not sitting at dinner with their family, or out at a concert, with a pager on their hip either, like doctors are. These men and women are away from their families for sometimes days at a time... helping YOU and YOUR commmunity. Before we throw too many stones, maybe we should fully understand what these men and women do.Jennifer –May 20, 2010 10:21:38 AM
Bob, how many of those deaths were caused by failing to use proper safety equipment? How many were caused by the builder/developer failing it's duties to follow safety regulations? You say it's more dangerous to be a construction worker, is that because when you're building a high-rise, you never know when it may collapse? How about, when you go into a burning building looking for a kid, you don't know when that building might collapse. Here are some fire departments that make more money than here: Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, Phoenix, San Francisco, etc.Steve B. –May 20, 2010 10:10:55 AM
Here is what I found on the City of Las Vegas Website. I does not seem the pay is out of line. If they are making Overtime is it not true they are working those hours??
http://www3.lasvegasnevada.gov/HRJobDescriptions/Default.aspxJohn M. –May 20, 2010 10:07:02 AM
I believe Mr. Fletcher said what the salary figures were for his employees, and that is the only figure that he should need to know. Why does he need to know how much they make in overtime? He is not the one that makes the decision on how much overtime they get, he said that. It is the city that decides that. Overtime as he stated is not in the contract.
James, if firefighters have enjoyed COLAS more than the rest of the employees, then that is not their fault. Maybe you should as your union leader why. And if the firefighters union offered up a concession already, how can you say they are not sharing the burden? Or is it that you only want to say what you want to hear.Steve B. –May 20, 2010 10:06:01 AM
There are many jobs which are dangerous and pay less. There were more construction worker deaths working on City Center alone compared to deaths from the firefighter dept or police dept. The truth is that our firefighters are paid more than other firefighters in the nation. Are their lives more expendable? It's one thing to pay firefighters a fair wage but another when they are overpaid to do the same job that other firefighters are doing. In the end, everyone's job is important not just the firefighters. Sacrifices should be equal across the board. Maybe the media should show what the every day life is like as a firefighter and follow a team around and show their ridiculously nice living conditions.Bob Laskin –May 20, 2010 10:04:23 AM
The firefighters have enjoyed cost of living increases when other public employees have not had any. Their COLAs are bigger than the rest of the public employees. If you are making a great salary, why are you not sharing the burden when other public employees are losing their jobs or taking furloughs?James T. –May 20, 2010 09:58:09 AM
Either Mr Fletcher is doing his collective bargaining unit employees a severe disservice by not knowing what their average annual compensation is or he is doing us citizens a severe disservice by dodging the multiple requests to provide this information. I support all of our civil servants, but Mr Fletcher has no right to claim distortion in the facts by the city and county. This is my humble opinion. Brian W. –May 20, 2010 09:51:08 AM
It appears the labor is in charge of the quality of the service? That does not make sense. Who is the leader of the Fire Department? Why not let them worry about the 'safety' and 'brown outs.' Isn't that is what management is for?
Why does he need a short fall in the budget to take cuts? Are they blind to the issues in the valley? They should take a 10% cut across the board. This debate with 80 million is not really relevant. So if we save money, put it in the bank.
They don't have to work there.darren w –May 20, 2010 09:49:47 AM
Where can I find your Union contract?Joe Cole –May 20, 2010 09:40:24 AM
Why is it every time I see a story about the budgets the numbers are alway different? I was watching the other day I see then say the numbers changed overnight? Who is projecting these number and why do they still have a job... almost seems like the Enron scandal??
If we are in such dire straights why are we still going through with a damn Mob Museum and a new City Hall?? If they have a rainy day fund how rainy does it have get before we use some of this money.
It is not good for us to make any cuts to Public Safety, If the Tourists do not feel safe they will not come to the City??? The Mayor is a joke and only seems to care about what he wants and toot his own horn... John M. –May 20, 2010 09:17:26 AM
With all the talk of privatization of emergency medical transport, why is noone talking about the fact that the most likely company to benefit from that is the same company that failed to collect patient billing dollars as contracted when the firefighters, without prompting from any of their leadership, stepped up the level of transports to bring in vital extra funds for the City of Las Vegas? Or the fact that that company is the same company who has pulled out of municipalities when the money they earned didn't "meet their business needs"? Or that this company consistently underperforms on its response times now? When will this madness stop?Paul C. –May 20, 2010 09:10:01 AM
I have a home in Summerlin, and I was told that our area fire truck was going to be one of those that were "brownouts". How does that affect my home if there was going to be a fire there, or does it?SummerlinCitizen –May 20, 2010 08:54:14 AM
While it is true that no FF's are currently facing layoffs, the department is moving toward browning out units. The proposal on the table is equivalent to 36 lay offs. This could adversely affect response times and may impact public survival for emergencies that immediately threaten life and health.Scott Johnson –May 20, 2010 08:26:01 AM
How can anyone say that there were no concessions offered up by the Firefighters. Betsy Fretwell was on the news the other night saying that the Firefighters had offered up more than the ever had before. What's the truth?Blockhead –May 20, 2010 08:25:16 AM
I watched local TV pudit Jon Ralston the other night when he hosted Betsy Fretwell. He asked her why the City was saying the FF had made no concessions when she knew that they had. He essentially called the ad misleading to the public and an appearance of a blatant effort to mislead. Why would the City not tell the truth??J-Dog –May 20, 2010 08:20:56 AM
I know a few firefighters and I KNOW they have made concessions and are getting a raw deal with not only the local media, but more importantly the Las Vegas Mayor. For the Council to say at the budget hearing that they did "step up to the plate" and a deal wasn't made because other groups didn't step up... then shame on the Mayor. Corpman –May 20, 2010 08:16:11 AM
A comment was made that the FF's have not made concessions, that is simply not true. Last year city FF's took a zero cost of living and had the lowest overall contract costs of any of the other unions. The tentative agreement that is in place with the city right now represents a cost savings to the city of approximately 9% through concessions and revenue enhancements.Scott Johnson –May 20, 2010 08:08:51 AM