Stockton Firefighters Offer $5.7 Million in Concessions to Save Fire and Emergency Medical Services

Firefighters protest City Manager's proposal to layoff 24 firefighters and reduce staffing by 23%

Jun 07, 2010, 15:30 ET from Stockton Firefighters, Local 456

STOCKTON, Calif., June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Stockton Firefighters, joined by community leaders and a resident whose life they saved two weeks ago, gathered at the Fallen Firefighter Memorial to announce a proposal today to provide the City of Stockton with $5.7 million in salary, benefit and other concessions in order to prevent cuts to fire and emergency medical services.  The proposal is the largest concession offer of any employee group for the upcoming budget and brings the total amount of firefighter concessions to nearly $19 million over the last three years—well above any employee group.

"Stockton Firefighters have always made personal sacrifices to save the critical fire and emergency medical services our residents deserve," said Dave Macedo, President of Stockton Firefighters, Local 456.  "We're proud to step up again to ensure that when you call the Fire Department we will be able to reach you in time."

Stockton's Interim City Manager, Kevin O'Rourke has proposed crippling cuts to Stockton's Fire Department, reducing the number of firefighters on duty and ready to respond to emergencies by 23%.  The Manager's proposal would significantly increase response times, specifically for fires, and reduce staffing to pre-1980 levels. In addition to the concessions, Stockton Firefighters agreed to discuss changes in the way employee pensions are structured and paid for.

"I commend the Stockton Firefighters for their willingness to take pay cuts in order to keep us safe," said Anthony Silva, President and CEO of the Stockton Boys and Girls Club of Stockton. "They're dedication to our community is heartwarming.  We appreciate their sacrifice."

Stockton resident Gary Bohannon also praised the firefighters' concessions.  "I greatly appreciate our firefighters' sacrifice to preserve our services.  Thanks to their quick response and decisive actions, I'm alive today," Bohannon said.  "I cannot imagine what would have happened to me if staffing cuts or station closures had been implemented in my neighborhood." Bohannon suffered a massive heart attack approximately two weeks ago and was saved "in the field" by firefighters and paramedics from Stockton Fire Department's Station 14.  Station 14's response time to the call was three minutes.

"Over the last two years, on average every firefighter has given back over $15,000 per year to the City in order to keep fire stations opened and fully staffed," stated Macedo.  "That number goes up to $21,000 this year if our offer is accepted.  We're hoping all city employees follow our lead, from the front line employees to high-level managers, including the City Manager.  We all need to contribute to save services."

The Stockton Fire Department consists of 220 firefighters housed in 14 stations protecting 350,000 people and covering over 87 square miles.  Stockton already has one of the lowest staffing ratios per capita in California.

SOURCE Stockton Firefighters, Local 456