Responding to the letter regarding the compensation for Kern County firefighters (“Letter to the Editor: Fire personnel compensation,” Aug. 11), it must be noted that the source that was used to find the compensation amounts, Transparent California, breaks out the comp in base pay, overtime, other comp, benefits and totals. The top Kern County fire personnel quoted amount the top 31, which are admin and executive management personnel. With a few exceptions, these are not the firefighting feet on the street protecting your property and lives. It’s a bit misleading for the writer to not explain that the compensation quoted includes benefits. Benefits can include health and medical insurance and not the money they put in their bank account. When comparing 2015 comp with 2018 comp not including benefits, the majority of field firefighting personnel rank down the ladder around No. 900, not anywhere close to the top 31 as stated by the writer.
Because rank-and-file firefighters are seeing compensation 25 percent to 35 percent more in Los Angeles County and Orange County, it’s easy to see why they move on. Comparing firefighter-C comp in 2015 to 2018, the average increase was only 3.1 percent in that four-year period. Thus, existing personnel work overtime to provide services to Kern County residents. Many firefighters also accept overtime shifts to simply provide necessary goods and services to their family.
Please support the Kern County firefighters union in appealing to the Board of Supervisors for a fair and reasonable compensation increase.
Gary Griffin, Bakersfield