Tuesday, January 07, 2014

How Much Should We Pay A Fireman?


What about a cop?

SCATS ~~ This question was posed on a forum I belong to. Before I chime in by sharing my answer here, I'll wait to see how YOU respond.

 

44 comments:

SCATS said...

From the email:

Dear SCATS,
I see you're asking about fireman's salaries -- in particular, how much should a fireman make. I came up with the chart below. Feel free to add onto it as you think of other 'duties' they might do.


Sleeping -- min. wage

Washing the truck -- $10/hour (Delta Sonic rate)

Cleaning the station house - $15/hr (What I pay my cleaning lady)

Riding to a fire (with lights and sirens) $30/hr

Actually fighting a fire -- $100/hr

Human rescue bonus -- $1000 each

Animal Rescue bonus -- $100 each

Cleaning up after a fire -- $50/hr

Sitting around the firehouse/watching TV/eating -- $10/hr



I'll bet you can think of more, but using this pay scale, I wonder where most would fall.



SCATS ~~ This certainly gives me some food-for-thought. Not sure I'm willing to pay them more to watch TV than to sleep though.

Anonymous said...

Some cops and firemen in NYC found a way to set their own pay

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101316298

Anonymous said...

Some cops and firemen in NYC found a way to set their own pay

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101316298

Anonymous said...

I would be very interested in seeing what value your followers place on the life of a person who is paid to place his life on the line every day and at any time be asked to risk his or her life when responding to potential dangerous life threatening situation,

SCATS said...

To 8:06AM ~~ I heard about that on the news. In Greece, instead of a martial arts studio, the RRFD guys have their own PRIVATE gym in a SEPARATE BUILDING!

SCATS said...

To 10:12AM ~~ I was waiting for the drama and you didn't disappoint! Show me that EVERY SINGLE GREECE FIREMAN RISKS HIS LIFE EVERY DAY ON THE JOB, PLEASE! I, for one, don't believe it happens with such frequency. There simply aren't that many structure fires in town, nor are there lots of other dramatic rescues done (from broken ice, for example) with any frequency. In fact, doing child safety seat and/or BP checks in-house or at the mall is NOT life threatening. AND there's really no need for the over-response to appear at every MVA in town. They don't do it in other places.

Anonymous said...

If you are seeking a frame of reference check out what firefighters make in right to work states such as Florida it is readily available on line. I do not dispute that the job can be dangerous at times but so is construction work, farming, working in a convenience store, lets not forget coal mining as well. Fire Fighters know what the risks are and elect to engage in this type of work. The question is the risks of this type of work are inherent but how often is an individual paid firefighter called upon to take that risk? Volunteer firefighters take the same risk for no pay at all.

Anonymous said...

Now did I say that? I didn't think so! What I did say was when you do the work of a firefighter, paid or otherwise, opportunity always exists that you will be confronted with a dangerous life threatening situation at anytime. Or, have you already forgotten about what took place a year ago in W Webster? FYI , I was really responding to you " how about a cop " question.

SCATS said...

To 12:40PM ~~ BINGO!! You hit the nail on the head! I could make a case that teachers are at as great risk ... but I won't ;)

SCATS said...

To 12:41PM ~~ If you wrote 10:12AM then you did say that! In fact, you said: " what value your followers place on the life of a person who is paid to place his life on the line every day..."

So my response about the drama stands :)

Anonymous said...

Just because there are not fires everyday doesn't lessen risk. What 12:41 is saying is every day they go to work there is a chance they will not go home. There could be a fire, dramatic rescue, or any other emergency on any given day.

SCATS said...

To 1:07PM ~~ How do you know what 12:41PM meant unless you are him/her??

Again, I'll go back to the comment that originally caused this stir. It stated: "...who is paid to place his life on the line every day..."

"Everyday" implies a daily frequency to the risk. "A chance" does not! As 12:40PM stated quite well, LOTS of occupations come with high risk. NOBODY forced anyone to become a fireman, did they? You knew (or should have) the "risks" going in! I wonder if those men who work road construction on expressways risk their lives everyday ... I'm thinking they likely do more often than a Greece fireman.

Anonymous said...

Nice try scats but everyday implies the situation I describe could happen at anytime any day 365 days a year

Using 12:17 comments, I have a simple cost saving solution. Unmanned fire stations. All personnel will be required to stay by their home phone during their assigned hours of Duty. Their employment agreement will stipulate that they must be available during those hours. If not needed, they will receive $50 per diem standbye pay.However, if called to duty, they must respond to their assigned station where they will pickup necessary equipment, trucks, hoses, etc. If called to active duty . They shall receive $100 dollars deemed to be " show up pay" Once responding to request for service, they will be compensated in the manner prescribed by 12:17.

What do you think? What would be the impact regarding their ability to save lives and property? It would result in savings and would deal with the concerns relating to "sleep overs" and TV watching on duty, would it not. your thoughts

Anonymous said...

AS far as the value of a life of a fireman, I believe that this is covered under a state insurance policy. The question might better be what value does the State place on a firemans life?

SCATS said...

To 1:53PM ~~ I'm not psychic, so since you haven't stated WHICH COMMENT YOU PREVIOUSLY POSTED, I'm left to assume. I don't like assumptions.

The issue here boils down to the meaning of the EXACT WORDS USED. When people say an event is daily, you can't then amend it to say "it might be", "could be", "a chance" ... "Everyday" means daily, period. "Everday there is a chance" ... yup, there is. Everyday there is a chance I'll win the Mega Ball Lottery too. But it's not very likely.

As for watching TV or sleeping on duty, I didn't say to NOT pay for that. I said I'm not sure that one deserves more pay than the other. Capisce??

People who continue to try to put words into my mouth (or others) are likely to have their comments deep-sixed at some point. To be clear, I understand the value of on-duty public safety personnel and the inherent risks of their jobs, training requirements, etc. That's NOT at issue here. The costs to taxpayers, especially given Greece's situation with duplicated resources, and the need to provide a reasonable salary/benefits for the duties performed are what we're focusing on.

BTW 12:41PM ~~ I purposely ignored your remark about what happened in WWFD a year ago. I've NEVER been onboard with the idea that a fireman (or anyone else for that matter) who gets picked-off by a sniper on the way to their work is a hero. (In the military, we don't put medals on soldiers and tag them a hero just because their workzone is dangerous due to flying bullets, shrapnel, grenades, etc. We save that recognition for the ones who CONSCIOUSLY PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE TO SAVE THEIR FELLOW MEN BY FORGING AHEAD WHILE UNDER FIRE/ATTACK.) The real heroes are those who attempt to STOP him, whether at work, or not.

In this case, the cop from Greece was more of a true hero that day than the men who died. Do I feel badly for their families? OF COURSE! BUT I do not see a need to make them wealthy and make the deceased into saints they are not. That's ALL I'm going to say about that situation, so please don't attempt to begin a discussion on it here. TY.

SCATS said...

To 2:14PM ~~ GREAT POINT! TY :)

Anonymous said...

The annual mean wage of a firefighter in New York State is $70,150, according to the United States Dept. of Labor statistics. I know for a fact, that I do not make that much. Especially with the government getting its share. I can't honestly say how much we should make. What I do know is that the Town of Greece has some of the most dedicated and highly trained firefighters around. I have volunteered other places and in other states, and the level of professionalism does not compare. Is my life worth the $50k a year that I make? I don't know, ask my wife and kids. God forbid if something happens to me, they will be the ones answering that question. Ask the on average 118 families a year who lose a loved one in a Line of Duty Death, and see what their answer is. In reply to one of your earlier posts, risking your life doesn't just mean running into structure fires everyday. It also means the possibility of being shot at, hit by a car, killed while responding, contracting hepatitis or HIV/AIDS, and being at an increased risk of heart attacks/CAD/stroke/and cancer. Most firefighters do not get the opportunity to enjoy a long retirement(I do find amusement in your bashing of pension systems) because they die as a result of the health complications listed above. If the tax payers were to call for a decrease in wages, I would gladly take a pay cut to do my job and many other firefighters would also. For me, it's not about the money or benefits(I don't use the provided district benefits). It's about the love of the job, getting to help the citizens in the community I grew up in and continue to live in, and the honor of serving in one of the best towns in New York State. Also someone earlier mentioned volunteer firefighters. Most paid firefighters started off as volunteers. They chose to take a civil service test (just like everyone can/is able to and there is one being offered in March0, chose to go to school to get a degree, and chose to take classes to be an EMT. They did this knowing that the volunteer firefighter is a dying breed and to better themselves. Not to sit back and see how they could screw the tax payer or screw the fire district. It's not about union or volunteer. As a union member (I also love your union bashing, and some of it is spot on) I see the beneficial and detrimental aspects of how a union works. Also in reply to your earlier post, what does a gym have to do with how much a firefighter gets paid? Go to any firehouse in this country and there will be a gym there...the gym is still on RRFD property, so why does it matter if it is in a separate building? To the poster at 1:53 p.m., in your scenario and how busy the fire districts are around here (and no there isn't separate incident numbers for each persons blood pressure taken at the mall, a fact which could have been proved by asking a member of that district), firefighters might get paid more. I just do not see that scenario resulting in cost savings. There would also be a significant impact in the ability to save lives/property. Longer response times equal less survivability in persons in cardiac arrest and more life threatening EMS calls, and it would also result in greater property damage due to a fire possibly growing out of the incipient stage. Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

My feeling is the firefighters in the Town of Greece are paid on par with those in this part of the country, and I'm ok with that.

Do they know the risks, etc. when they take the job. Yes, but doesn't mean compensation should be less. Jobs that are high risk or most people can't or won't do (not just firefighters) cost more. Yes Volunteers would reduce cost, but volunteer firefighters have greatly diminished in this area and the country, causing a need for more paid firefighters country wide.

FYI the odds of a firefighter in the US dying in the Line of duty is 1:10,000

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot is 1:258,890,850

Anonymous said...

Your take on Webster has not changed since day one when you stated whether or not paid or not makes no difference as they are paid to take those risks Most compassionate. and of great comfort to their families. By the way I am responsible the posts you responded to and you are one of the best spin masters I have encountered in dealing with people who need to hire these types to put a positive spin on a negative outcome. Usually reserved for political types It really makes little or no difference as this format gives you the last word and that OK once one understands your usual position on select topics. I'm betting you don't post this but that's OK As well

SCATS said...

To 2:41PM ~~ Congrats! You earn about what I think the job should pay for a trained, somewhat experienced firefighter! My issue is that in RRFD alone there are at least half a dozen employees earning in excess of $100K! I looked it up :) Also, I really don't see Bud being worth that much to keep court while warming a seat at Panera Bread on frequent afternoons.

As with most jobs, there are more than one type of risk. Many folks are exposed to the same risks as you in other lesser paying jobs.

Please show me where I "bashed" your pension system? I believe my only words about that, ever (not on this thread), involve the double-dippers.

As for "volunteers" the RRFD bunch know full well there are no true volunteers in their dept. but that doesn't stop the annual fundraising campaign from being held (illegally??). I'm sorry, but it smacks of corruption, if not outright lies and deception!!

About the gym at RRFD, in previous discussions no one disputed that RRFD purchased that property, then turned it into a gym! That is NOT the same as having a gym within a firehouse. It adds onto the expenses borne by us peons who also work hard for a living, also risking our lives, health and well-being in a multitude of careers.

About the separate call numbers for checking BPs, etc. I'm sorry, but I was told that is true by several FD employees who work at said station.

SCATS said...

To 2:58PM ~~ Excuse me you chose a math problem in your search of Google, not a real statistic for the question at hand. According to this website ( http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/01/08/168897140/the-deadliest-jobs-in-america-in-one-graphic ), 2.5 firemen die for every 100,000 fulltime workers. To quote that source: "Firefighters are less likely to die on the job than the average U.S. worker. That may be because we're seeing fewer structure fires and more firefighters are wearing their seat belts, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Over a third of firefighter deaths from 2011 were due to fires or explosions, but another quarter were because of transportation accidents."

To 3:37PM ~~ You've lost your bet. What's my "reward?" Also, TY for realizing I'm consistant on most of my positions.

BTW, this BLOG is very oriented towards politics, since it's the politicians who oversee how much we're taxed and how that $$ is expended. You should have realized that from the gitgo.

I'm not going to attempt to unscramble the meaning of your third sentence. I'm not in the mood for a headache tonight ...

SCATS said...

BTW, according to the source I posted above which is very recent, fisherman are at much greater risk of dying on the job than either cops or firemen. So are loggers, pilots & farmers/ranchers ;)

Anonymous said...

If we are trying to reduce cost to taxpayers the answer is not in cutting pay but rather consolidation. That would reduce the equipment and boards etc.

Anonymous said...

In front of the City of Rochester Public Safety Building there are two memorial stones. One of them has the names of all of the RPD members killed in the line of duty since the inception of the organization the other stone has all of the names of RFD members killed in the line of duty the Fire Dept Stone has about 50 names inscribed on it the Police Dept Stone has about 8 names on it. Most of the FD members died many decades ago. My point is the business has gotten a lot safer, better equipment, training, fire safety codes etc. The day of the "Iron Fireman" with the "Leather Lungs" is long gone. Firefighter safety is the new watchword. The other reality is that fires are not as common as they used to be, the pay is great and the benefits are better. This reality was not the case in years past. I get tired of hearing how tough and dangerous the job is. The old timers just went to work every day kept their mouth shut and worked the side job because they had to the job did not pay that good. How about appreciating what you have and being quiet about how brave you are and how tough the job is. Medal day is once a year that and your paycheck should be thanks enough

SCATS said...

To 4:42PM ~~ I believe both should be considered.

To 4:43PM ~~ Well said. I'd like to ditto your parting remark for cops who might be reading.

Anonymous said...

2:41 this 1:53 and I totally agree. Apparently you thought I was serious when I suggested that scenario. it was sarcasm directed at previous comments especially scats and 12:17. I'm on your side and not in the fire fighting business. Just a town resident who appreciates the great job you people do for our town.

You must recognize the over abundance of sour grapes being directed at you and the cops in town. Their problem two fold. First, their choice of careers in most cases just blew up in their collected faces. While, and again I'm assuming you are firefighter, made a career choice to do something in service of the public. Your career choice brings us to the second stone in their shoe, your pension which is protected by law and their s that disappeared when there choice went south. The appropriate and operative word is just plain JEALOUSY. Remember that and smile when that first monthly check comes when you retire as you earned it. You got it, they don't . Too bad, they made poor choices and you didn't and they can never take it away.

SCATS said...

To 6:42PM ~~ DREAM ON!! If you only knewthe truth, you'd be choking on your own words lol

Anonymous said...

Funny you should mention that. We had an incident in our neighborhood overnight . The officer and sergeant that responded left my house an hour ago. During the discussion into the problem, I asked both of them what they thought about the Scat site. They kinda looked puzzled and appeared to be searching for an answer between them. After I explained what scats was they both said they had no knowledge of this blog sight. Hmmm

Anonymous said...

6:42. I guess I agree with the career choice thing but the "Service to the public" thing is way off. The vollies do what they do because they think it is the right thing to do, for the action, because they like it you name the reason. As far as the paid guys anyone who has been around long enough to know the difference will tell you that in the old days most of the people in Fire or Police were doing it because they genuinely liked it because you could make a hell of a lot more money working production jobs or in the skilled trades. In my view and in the view of a lot of other people who know the difference today it is all about the paycheck. From what I have seen and heard there are a lot if people in emergency services that don't give a sh-t about the job the citizens or anybody else it's all about the bucks if they could make the same somewhere else for doing less they would be gone in a heartbeat.

SCATS said...

To 11:20AM ~~ WHAT are you referring to??

To 2:28PM ~~ I know exactly what you mean.

poppins said...

Figures you wouldn't post the comments I made. Typical.

Anonymous said...

Is there a shortage of qualified people for these jobs? Are the salaries in place for retention?

Anonymous said...

Proper pay for firefighters, teachers, and other public jobs should be set by what it takes to keep enough qualified people in the various departments. The core problem is that these are thought of as lifetime jobs with no give and take of personnel with the private sector. When government employees never transition to the private sector, and private sector employees are not allowed to compete for public sector openings (most government jobs are posted as internal hires only), you get no sense of comparable pay for comparable work through competition.

SCATS said...

To 7:25PM ~~ If you want them posted, stop the name-calling & personal insults. Then TRY to focus on the topic. I know it's hard for those in union/lifetime jobs, but at least try.

To 7:39PM ~~ Not that I've heard.

Anonymous said...

6:42 As retired Monroe county police officer allow me to disagree as well as agree with your comment. I joined the cops back in 1964, At that time I was working in a local factory , As such, , I was making $7,500 a year. However, I decided that a job in manufacturing was not something I wanted to make a career . Since my military training had much to do with maritime law enforcement, I decided to look into a possible career in local law enforcement.
So I applied for and took the Monroe County Civil service exam with only seven other interested guys.
I would pass and was offered a position in one of our local departments. This would prove not to be an easy decision as I had a family of four to support. Not easy because the position of patrolman paid just $5,225 a yr to start with no Benifits other than a state required retirement plan. I decided to take the job any way after convincing my wife that risks involved were manageable . That would prove incorrect as two weeksx after completing a three week training course , I would find myself in the midst of the 1964 Race Riots
in downtown Rochester as I was peppered. With rocks, bottles etc. as were 2/3rds Of the total manpower in the county. I would survive with few cuts and bruises and would retire 27 yrs later. During that time as a result of negotiations, pay and benefits came into line with those in the private sector.
My point is that those who took the job Did Not do it for the compensation. We did it because it was a career decision and desire to work in this profession.
Now here is where I can embrace your comments as to why some choose this route. In Greece today, their are those I refer to as " mercenaries" who follow the buck.
During the past 8 yrs. your former supervisor decided to hire cops from other jurisdictions that pay much less than the cops in Greece. It's an easy decision when you are making a poultry $35,000 a year as a deputy in Livingston County and have a chance to more than double your income even if it means driving 30 to40 miles a day to get to work.
Presently, over one half of your cops came to Greece for the MONEY and Bennies. All of them still live in those counties. Thus I am with you regarding their dedication to the job as opposed to this cops of my era.

Anonymous said...

Don't some towns and city's have residency requirements? You have to live there to work there?

Anonymous said...

1:36- I agree lets not forget 100% of the police that retire today do so after illegally bumpy their retirement. They all have the new guys call in sick so in your last 3 years you can bump your overtime by thousands of dollars. Remember your highest 3 years determine your retirement. This is where the NYS Attorney General should look into for theft of services or fraud.

SCATS said...

To 1:36PM ~~ Some probably do. I know Greece PD doesn't. I suspect the FDs don't either.

Anonymous said...

1:36 State police and fire pensions are computed at the amount earned during the previous 12 months from your retirement date. Twenty or so years ago, the pension system put in place new rules that will disallow any amount that exceeds the 12 months prior to the members retirement 12 months. That amount is 20% Simply put , any compensation however earned that exceeds this allowance is subtracted from his final years compensation to computed his yearly retirement benefit.
This was done because some downstate departments allowed officers to accumulate obscene hours of over time. Some departments were caught promoting officers to a position that paid more so they could claim that salary . This is as you say
Padding their yearly pension. This not say that to some extent that does not still take place but as it now stands , it's base pay plus a max of 20% in additional compensation including overtime!! unused comp time etc.

Anonymous said...

1:36 so 20% of say 80K annual compensation is 16K additional overtime. Retirement in the state system it would amount to $325 more per month (2% of income) in retirement for life which retiring at 46 means about 35 years or $136,500.00!

Anonymous said...

Don't understand your math, but I will attempt to understand your reasoning and figures. If I understand you, you are using $80K as his adjusted income and the amount for computation of his of his yearly benefit.You are claiming that $16K of that $80k is overtime? OK so now because the amount of that yearly benefit is based on a 50% of adjusted final income for his last 12 mo of service. Using these figures , the employe's yearly benefit would be roughly $40 ,000 annually .
While that $16.000 figure could be all overtime, there are other forms of deferred compensation that could be in the equation. One is unused compensated time which means an officer working overtime, can choose to convert it to " additional time off in lieu of pay ""example; accumulate 8 overtime hours and be granted an additional day off. Some officers will choose to " bank" those hours up to max 100 hours for the purpose of converting those hours to cash at retirement.Also unused vacation time can also be converted similarly at the per diem rate.
In any event, these amounts that exceed the 20% rule will not be allowed.

Anonymous said...

2:24 I forgot to mention your $325 / month figure The 50% rule would apply making the monthly increase roughly $$160 / or roughly $1800 of the $40,000 yearly benefit amount.

Anonymous said...

For the correct info on the Police and Fire pension system google NYS pension system. In the search box enter police and fire pension plans you will be presented with the list of plans and special plans that are available to the employer. Most paid police and fire people are tier 2 employees although there may be a small number of tier 1 people left. The state has come out with new plans and tiers since Cuomo was elected.
if you drill deep enough into the sight you will find a schedule of the employer contribution for all of the plans is is very interesting reading. In some cases the employer contribution is in excess of 24 percent of the annual salary total per individual. The overtime calculation and other factors that are figured into the FAS or final average salary are listed for your information. When the employee retires all burden shifts to the state as the annual contribution is paid on the front end by the employersccyoun known

Anonymous said...

So, how does this differ from the explanation offered by 7:03 It's my understanding of the law that it makes no difference which one of six tiers the employee is enrolled in when it comes to the State rules regarding computation of that employees ADJUSTED final compensation during the 12 monthsly preceding his final date of employment .