Firefighters: Fire Chief’s Pay Cut Offer Not Quite the Same Sacrifice



In response to news that Moraga Orinda Fire District Chief Stephen Healy will ask the Board of Directors for a “temporary” 9.5% pay cut to his base salary, Local 1230, Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County pointed out some important missing facts such as the Chief received a 16.5% increase in November. Furthermore, on becoming Chief, his base pay jumped 43.5%.

While Local 1230 recognizes his willingness to take a pay cut, they say its not the same because they never received a 16.5% raise nor any cost of living increase since 2008 to offer a cutback

Here is the statement in full

According to a recent article in the Contra Costa Times, the Moraga Orinda Fire District Fire Chief Stephen Healy will ask the board of directors for a “temporary” 9.5% pay cut to his base salary. The article states that this is the same proposed cut presented as a “last best final” offer to the rank and file firefighters who are members of Firefighters Local 1230. As their lead negotiator and representative, I feel it is important to point out a few facts pertaining to the new Fire Chief’s salary and how this is not near the same sacrifice being asked of his firefighters.

Last November the annual base salary of the MOFD Fire Chief was increased from $189.000 to $220.000. This is a 16.5% increase in base salary. Prior to being promoted to Fire Chief in November, Chief Healy was working as a Division Chief; a rank that has an annual base salary of $153,400.

His personal base pay for becoming the new Fire Chief went from from $153,400 to $220,000, which is about a 43.5% increase. We recognize his willingness to cut his pay back down 9.5% as a small step in reducing inflated management costs. Furthermore, that gesture is not comparable to the 9.5% cut that is being threatened to be imposed on the firefighters.

Not only did the firefighters not get the 16.5% base salary increase the Fire Chief’s position got in November 2013; they have not had any cost of living increases at all since July 1, 2008. A 9.5 % cut in pay after a five and a half year salary freeze is a equivalent to a 20 % pay cut when you include inflation.

The firefighters have also absorbed 100% of the healthcare cost increases since 2010 on top of that. It is also significant that the word “Temporary” is not found in the offer being imposed on the Firefighters as well.

Although we appreciate this gesture from the newly promoted Fire Chief; it is clearly not a similar sacrifice as the article suggest. Getting back to the table, making cuts where appropriate, and negotiating a fair contract would be much more meaningful.

Vince Wells
United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County


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