SF Examiner Publishes My Anti-SFFD Overtime LTE With Affiliation

Dear Everyone;
Last week the SF Examiner published an article about the Bureau of Equipment a specialized part of the SFFD which does repair of fire fighting vehicles and equipment. The five members managed to earn some 3500 hours of overtime at $53 an hour or $160,000. The SF Examiner followed up with an anti-SFFD overtime Editorial in their Sunday edition.
I had a few words to say about this and so did some others. The last LTE by P. Holden is an eye-opener for requiring all Muncipal employee union contracts to be voted on by the taxpaying voters not the politicians. Which when you think about it isn't such a bad idea for a City charter initiative. He also has a nice turn with the words they used - good writing.

Ron Getty - SF Libertarian
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Morte ai Tiranni

Fire department overtime
The Fire Department doesn’t need to hire more firefighters with specialized mechanic skills to do on-street fire vehicle repair.
With $160,000 of overtime for these firefighting repair mechanics you could hire three full-time non-firefighter maintenance workers.
When the non-firefighting repair mechanics aren’t fixing fire vehicles they could work on-call at Muni, police or city fleet maintenance yards.
If this is not feasible, then have mechanics from the various city fleet maintenance yards on-call to repair broken fire equipment and save hiring new mechanics.
It isn’t a no-brainer to stop using highly skilled and trained firefighters as repair mechanics. Or, bid out the repair work, waiving prevailing wages and see how low the bids could get for the repair work.
Ron Getty
Chair, Initiatives Committee
Libertarian Party
San Francisco
The Bureau of Equipment in the SFFD should be civilianized (“City Seeks to douse Overtime” July 24).
Last year taxpayers paid $53 an hour for thousands of hours that firefighter/mechanics slept, ate and watched television.
If this department were civilianized, the civilian mechanics could work an eight-hour shift. Civilian mechanics are not paid to sleep.
Last year, the five firefighters mentioned in the article earned $842,497. For the same amount, The City could hire 13 civilian mechanics, better trained, at $65,000 a year.
Jim Corrigan
San Francisco
Your article about overtime in the Fire Department is, I fear, but the tip of the iceberg.
San Francisco’s civil servants have moved from being service-oriented to self-service-oriented. It used to be that a civil servant got low wages, but in exchange, the job was steady, the work not too arduous and a pension awaited those who persevered. Now, the pay, perks and benefits levels have skyrocketed beyond generous. That municipal unions take advantage of our system is partly a function of politicians, who need their support, cash and endorsements to win.
Politicians can hide behind their negotiations on labor matters, hoping we’ll vote for them for their position on rent control, Darfur or their looks.
Instead of allowing the politicians to negotiate and then ratify labor agreements, all municipal union contracts ought to be put to a vote of the people who live here, and pay for them.
P. Holden
San Francisco