Negotiations are currently taking place between the firefighters union and the county of Kern. The representative for the Kern County Firefighters Union, in a recent Bakersfield Californian article, states that they are losing firefighters to other places due to low compensation. They are concerned that their benefits might be “slashed,” as they put it.

Please view the following 2018 total compensation from Transparent California:

Fire Chief — $492,529 (highest compensated public employee in the county)

Deputy Fire Chief — $491,536 (second highest compensated public employee in the county)

Fire Captain — $394,001 (fourth highest compensated public employee in the county)

Fire Battalion Chief — $390,166 (sixth highest compensated public employee in the county)

Of the top 40 paid county employees, 31 are firefighters, and each one is compensated more than $313,000 in 2018.

Of the top 80 highest compensated public employees in the county 58 are firefighters, and the lowest compensation of these is $287,254

These personnel are paid more than the county counsel, attorneys, any and all other public servants as a group in the county, and they are making in many cases more than a $250,000 a year in salary and benefits.

If they are losing firefighters to other counties, as was also stated, one must suspect the reasons are not to be found in the compensation package.

Kelly Richers, Bakersfield