Firefighter demands prompt many questions

Dear Editor,
I am very alarmed by the information provided by Mayor Al
Pinheiro and Councilman Bob Dillon in their commentary concerning
the firefighters’ demands for 26 percent increase and what it will
do to the city budget.
Dear Editor,

I am very alarmed by the information provided by Mayor Al Pinheiro and Councilman Bob Dillon in their commentary concerning the firefighters’ demands for 26 percent increase and what it will do to the city budget. I am certain that others are disturbed by this information also. The mayor and the firefighters need to know what the citizens of Gilroy think about this.

Therefore, I think that the Dispatch could help in getting this information by putting a survey in the paper that we Gilroyans can fill out and then clip out and send to the Dispatch. The Dispatch can then compile the results and print them. This will let both sides know where the people of Gilroy stand on the issue of compensation to the firemen.

I have some questions that I think should be in the questionnaire but before I list them I want to restate some data from Al and Bobs’ commentary.

In Pinheiro and Dillon’s commentary they stated that:

• Gilroy is facing tough economic times

• 80 percent of the city’s discretionary revenue currently goes to public safety

• The “3 percent at 50” equates to a 10.5 per cent raise in payroll spending alone

• Local 2805 is demanding a 9 percent pay raise over the next three years

• Gilroy pays its firefighters over 10 percent more in total compensation than comparable fire departments in the region

• A top-step firefighter makes $79,900 in salary – not including overtime, holiday pay and other benefits

• A typical firefighter enjoys a wage and benefit package worth about $132,000

• The city paid $883,000 in 2000 to CalPERS for retirement, and in four short years that has jumped to $3.25 million.

I suggest a survey which we Gilroyans can fill out and send back to the Dispatch.

• Do you think that a firefighters’ compensation of over $100,000/year is excessive since they are on the job only 10 24-hour shifts per month?

• Should anyone making this kind of money provide for their own retirement with their own 401k

• Should firefighter pay be rolled back like other industries (airlines) are doing?

• Is the work firefighters do is as dangerous as the work that the police officers do?

• Should firefighters get the same retirement benefits that the police officers do?

• Do firefighters deserve a 9 percent pay increase over three years

• Are you going to get a 9 percent pay increase over three years

• Do you think that the city of Gilroy should raise taxes to pay for the firefighters’ demands?

If the Dispatch would print this survey and the results, then everyone in Gilroy will know where the people stand on this issue.

Fred Mikrut, Gilroy

Editor’s note: Interesting idea. We’ll work on it.

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