East Contra Costa Fire Chief Receives 5-Year Contract Extension


On Monday, the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board of Directors unanimously agreed to extend the contract of fire Chief Brian Helmick. Under the agreement, Helmick will serve as fire chief through July 1, 2022.

Helmick was first hired in March of 2016 where he accepted a 1-year contract on an interim basis. He was ultimately hired in October as permanent chief at a salary of just $126,670.

Under the new agreement, here is a look at his base salary:

  • Jan 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019: $189,000
  • July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020: $198,450
  • July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021: $208,374
  • July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022: $218,805
  • July 1, 2022 – $229,746

According to Board president Brian Oftedal, the salary is nowhere close to where they needed to be but will get them closer to where they should be.

Helmick will also receive 20-hours of vacation each month with a maximum accrual of 480-hours each. He also has 100 hours per year of administrative leave. There is also the ability to take advantage of tuition reimbursement of $4,000 annually for graduate-level coursework

Here is a look at neighboring District Fire Chief pay in 2016 according to transparentcalifornia.com

  • $180,930 – Sacramento Fire
  • $182 786 – Tracy Fire Dept.
  • $187,975 – Stockton Fire Dept.
  • $189,271 – Fairfield Fire Dept.
  • $193,771 – Vacaville Fire Dept.
  • $199,607 – Pleasanton Fire Dept.
  • $202,694 – Sacramento Metro
  • $209,370 – El Cerrito Fire Department
  • $211,182 – Contra Costa Fire Protection District
  • $214,860 – Richmond Fire
  • $220,990 – Berkeley Fire
  • $223,141 – Moraga-Orinda Fire Protection District
  • $235,446 – Fremont Fire Chief
  • $243,336 – San Ramon Fire Chief


  1. That salary, plus 6 weeks vacation and 2.5 weeks of personal time off, for a total of over 2 months off a year!?!?!? What a joke! No wonder Contra Costa County is broke! Hire and pay cops more, so that we can attract more good cops here. I respect firefighters, but they are way overpaid and get way way to much vacation! Its just crazy!

    • What is crazy is your lack of knowledge that the ECCFPD is a special district, therefore, you cannot use fire district money to pay for more cops. Funny how you think the lowest paid fire district in the bay area is overpaid.

  2. So the same people that have procrastinated in ELECTING directors so they could continue to control just tied the hands of the soon to be elected Directors for the next 5 years into a contract that they don’t know if they can afford. How can you compare Fire Chief salary and not compare Firefighters?
    This is just causing more distrust!

  3. Thanks fire board, you just put the final nail in the coffin assuring this district will never receive additio am funding by the voters.

    There are so many reasons this should not have been done at this time. Sad, but just another indicator of an inept and out of touch board.

  4. Thanks fire board, you just put the final nail in the coffin assuring this district will never receive additio am funding by the voters.

    There are so many reasons this should not have been done at this time. Sad, but just another indicator of an inept and out of touch board.

  5. This is robbery. The fire chief of this small department should NOT make anywhere near 200 THOUSAND DOLLARS a year. He should not have a salary at or above other fire departments which are in better shape financially and have much more responsibility. I agree with what others are saying. Shame on you fire board. More distrust!!!!!!

  6. This board will and has determined the stage for the elected board. I feel sorry for anyone running for a seat. They will begin with violating the voters rights act on the first day and must fix the generous commitments made by the current political appointments. Poor decisions continue.

  7. Some of you people haven’t got a clue. The number 1 priority for this fire district is stability and ensuring they actually will have staffing in 5 years versus everyone leaving. Chief Helmick is a fantastic hire and glad to see him extended.

    If its a revolving door, nothing gets fixed because people come in, learn it, and leave for greater salary elsewhere. And in case some of you don’t know how budgets work, the 2016 data came from the 2015 budgets meaning the current salary’s listed are already outdated and he is nowhere near the top of the salary pay scales.

    Some of you need to use your heads and think before posting nonsense.

  8. Joe Fix it nailed it. So far I am very impressed with Chief Hemlick. The smartest thing he has done is being transparent. It is brilliant to hire a lobbyist group to represent the district at the state level.
    It’s long over due. Going to the state is the only chance to fund the district correctly with the lack of political will and leadership in East County.

    The sad part about hiring a lobbyist group is this problem should have been handled at the local level with a local solution. The lobbyist will have to do what our local spineless politicians are not willing or able to do. PATHETIC.

    To the Chief: your being paid Weill to fix this problem. Don’t just expect the tax payer to carry the burden. Fix the inadequate funding of the district at the state level and the community will be more supportive. If you fix the problem you will have earned your pay and the citizens of ( ECCFPD)will receive the service they deserve and pay for.

    People are wishing you the best and Praying for you.

    Rob Broocker

  9. The comments are about decisions premise before election. Brian Helmick is a very responsive intelligent person. He loves his community and his job. He is a great choice. The contract could have been made for two years and re-evaluated by the new elected board. He probably would get another increase because of his experience. The comment concern is directed at the actions of the appointees knowing an elected board is coming. The same goes for many other issues that are being premade by the appointees. This throws a red flag.

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