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May 17, 2010



It really shocked me how much police and firefighters are paid. Here are the figures for Burlingame in 2009(public info available from City Hall):

POLICE CAPTAIN__$272,138.21
FIRE CAPTAIN_____213,162.65
FIRE CAPTAIN_____211,414.14
FIRE CAPTAIN_____206,760.07
FIRE CAPTAIN_____198,517.54
FIRE CAPTAIN_____193,470.84
FIRE CAPTAIN_____185,519.45
POLICE CAPTAIN___180,852.02
FIRE CAPTAIN_____175,476.89
POLICE CAPTAIN___174,106.64
FIRE FIGHTER_____171,911.76
FIRE CAPTAIN_____164,164.23
FIRE CAPTAIN_____162,779.35
FIRE FIGHTER_____159,022.87
FIRE FIGHTER_____156,767.37
FIRE CAPTAIN_____156,607.17
FIRE CAPTAIN_____150,193.35
POLICE OFFICER___144,831.72
FIRE CAPTAIN_____143,577.28
FIRE FIGHTER_____143,521.02
FIRE CAPTAIN_____142,491.47
FIRE FIGHTER_____141,324.75
FIRE FIGHTER_____140,604.13
FIRE FIGHTER_____139,814.88
FIRE FIGHTER_____138,191.59
FIRE FIGHTER_____137,828.85
FIRE FIGHTER_____136,420.34
FIRE FIGHTER_____135,703.41
FIRE FIGHTER_____135,377.16
FIRE MISC________133,907.77
FIRE CAPTAIN_____133,709.47
FIRE CAPTAIN_____132,540.62
FIRE FIGHTER_____132,328.69
FIRE FIGHTER_____130,521.34
FIRE MISC________129,885.75
POLICE OFFICER___128,630.64
FIRE FIGHTER_____127,023.62
FIRE FIGHTER_____126,187.45
FIRE FIGHTER_____125,592.09
POLICE OFFICER___125,233.33
POLICE OFFICER___124,824.50
FIRE FIGHTER_____124,486.50
FIRE FIGHTER_____124,446.80
POLICE OFFICER___119,632.41
POLICE OFFICER___118,664.18
POLICE OFFICER___118,594.54
FIRE FIGHTER_____118,382.40
POLICE OFFICER___118,201.16
POLICE OFFICER___116,243.36
FIRE INSPECTOR___114,193.20
POLICE OFFICER___112,993.02
FIRE FIGHTER_____112,526.93
POLICE OFFICER___112,317.68
POLICE OFFICER___111,667.80
POLICE OFFICER___107,208.44
POLICE OFFICER___106,790.42
FIRE FIGHTER_____105,353.47
POLICE OFFICER___104,421.70
POLICE OFFICER___103,090.24
POLICE OFFICER___102,116.16
POLICE OFFICER____99,463.52
POLICE OFFICER____98,025.98
FIRE FIGHTER______95,720.93
POLICE MISC_______95,239.65
POLICE OFFICER____94,742.48
POLICE OFFICER____94,607.56
POLICE OFFICER____92,031.03
POLICE OFFICER____91,584.00
POLICE OFFICER____88,961.78
POLICE MISC_______86,780.72
POLICE OFFICER____83,843.15
POLICE OFFICER____78,384.40
POLICE OFFICER____74,769.32
POLICE OFFICER____68,000.23
POLICE OFFICER____57,336.23
FIRE CAPTAIN______55,809.90
POLICE OFFICER____55,766.33
POLICE OFFICER____48,473.86
POLICE OFFICER____29,403.97

Ron Fulderon

Does anybody here think this is a good thing?


And that doesn't include the pension and health insurance cost. To give up their raises for a year is just a drop in the bucket.

City Hall needs to renegotiate the entire package for police and fire or open the jobs to the many folks who would gladly work in Burlingame for less money.


Problem is when you look at the layoff list, just a bunch of maintenance workers, does anybody else notice that? So the best solution to balancing the budget is slicing the workers who trim trees? You would think the Council would catch that.

Account Deleted

The following looks like more meaningful/concrete steps towards pension reform to me:


Indeed, San Carlos (and I believe a few other cities in the county) has already headed in this direction, per their response to the San Mateo Grand Jury report on escalating employee costs/benefits:



Could someone please post the amount of vacation and sick leave the Police and Fire receive?
I have seen it on paper and could not believe it.
Especially Fire.
2-3 days a week work.
12 hours sleeping, eating, or working out.
The Fire people get an unbelievable amount of vacation/sick leave.
Please post if anyone can.
Burlingame is not San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, or Fresno.


Holy Roller,

I'm glad your not a fire fighter!!!! That is not what they do sleep, eat and workout. They are working 24 hours 2-3 days a week. Going on medical calls, car accidents and lots of other calls besides fires. Do you have to get up in the middle of the night to work? I don't think so. Show some respect!!!


How many of them have second jobs? A lot.

Ron Fulderon

The point is not whether the fire fighters or police, or any other civil service employee is working hard or whether they are providing important services. I am sure that many are working very hard and doing things quite necessary for the governments to run.

The point is whether we are paying more than necessary. I contend that we are paying (salaries and benefits) WAY MORE than necessary to get qualified people for those jobs.

Actually now the issue is far past whether we are paying too much. It is now about how are we going to break those contracts to survive. Every year the city is going to be strapped with more and more retiree benefits and huge salaries burdening the city from providing services that we pay taxes for. A pay freeze will do next to nothing to solve the problem and a two tier'd benefits package will also have only a small effect in the next 20 years.

Disgusted with Government

Ron, you speak the truth. These pay freezes and two-tiered benefit plans are two tiny fingers in a dike.


Please post the data.
Elder Kerrigan questioned the Burlingame Fire Dept at a recent meeting regarding the calls receieved, what the calls were about, and where do the San Mateo County Paramedics fit in?
Whoever that man is(Fire Dept Chief?) he withered, and fumbled the responce.
I felt he was embrassed/afraid to respond in an open forum.
I would like to know what the data is, as well as the hours of vacation, sick leave, and comp time the City of Burlingame Fire Dept receive.
What is wrong with that?


Dear bgame,
If you have never been on a tour of the Fire Station on California Dr. please do so.
You will see Wolf Stoves, and Wolf Sub Zero Refrigarators.
Look at the Pots/Pans,Juicers, Knives, Food Processors.
You will see the best Cardio/ free weights, workout space that rivals any Gym.
You will see six $2500.00 Barco Lounger Reclining Chairs spread out around a massive TV screen, with Top of the line sound system that is set up to receive every thing possible.
I do not feel angry for these people being able to get all these "basic needs."
If the City Manager, and Elders sign off on it they must believe that there is a need for it.
What do you think?
Go on a tour.
While you are at it go on a tour of the Fire Station on Hillside.
These are truly "Dirty Little Secrets."



You are right on! In addition, DTN you state that some of the firefighters have second jobs - dirty secret #2, retired Fire Chief still works for CCFD, yup, retired but now double-dipping. I guess you can call that a second job. A member of the $100,000+ dollar retirement club ramping up his social security. Now that is truly a friend with benefits!

Account Deleted

Interesting: Here's the latest from Menlo Park - the citizens are now taking reform into their own hands with a ballot initiative in November.



Holy Roller,

Clearly you don't get it. They have to eat. Have you ever cooked for 12 people at a time. They need commercial style stoves so they can actually cook for that many people at once. These appliances are used all day everyday. They cannot be cheap or they would be breaking down all the time, or do you propose they don't eat on they're 24 shift. Have you ever worked 24 hours in a row? Firefighter's have to pay for their food while on duty it is not paid for by the city.

It sounds like you are just extremely jealous. If you think it is such a cush job why don't you apply. Firefighters put their lives on the line everyday for ungrateful citizens just like you.

Your buddy BeenAround doesn't have a clue either. Firefighters do not get social security. So, you have know idea what you are talking about. Thats the dirty little secret, you are both clueless. Know your facts before you look stupid on a blog!!!

Ron Fulderon

Bgame, we are not jealous. We are concerned that we won't be able to continue to pay extremely high civil services salaries and outrageously generous retirement benefits. You should be too.

Mr. Slate

I have the utmost respect for those who work in risky occupations. In many cases they choose these careers because they like the adrenaline rush. Firefighters go into it with a clear understanding of the risks and the ones I know, could have had a successful career elswhere.

It is easy to forget how difficult it was to find qualified employees a few years ago. It is easy to point fingers at those who negotiated contracts in the height of the Dot-Com boom.

It is very difficult to go back and change these agreements now that unemployment is high....now that the City is in financial straits. Firefighters may have made different career choices if the package was different.

Both sides of this negotiation need to be clear on how we got here and both need to acknowledge the fiscal reality. We need to find a way to honor our commitments as a City and the unions need to work with us to ease the burden so we may do this.

Ron Fulderon

Mr Slate, I have never read any stories about how difficult it is to find qualified people to work in most civil service jobs. Even during the boom period job openings in the fire department and other civil services had many qualified applicants. And rather than lower the offered salaries and benefits like private industry would do when they had a large applicant pool, the city choose not to do so based on union pressure. You ignore the huge influence of the unions.

And here's another factor: Over the years the cities have bid against each other to get as they see it "the most qualified". So of course we spent more than we really needed to. It's as if they decided to bid against each other to get the nicest fleet of vehicles. If Redwood City has Fords, then San Carlos wants Acuras, and Burlingame decides to buy BMWs, when all we really needed were some basic Corollas to get the job done. We don't need to pay $200K with outrageous benefits for a fire fighter. And we shouldn't. (By the way, I am not insulting firefighters with the Corolla analogy.... Corollas are very dependable cars.)


Those are probably the best appliances to get because they will get used.. A Lot.
They will last a long time.
A good investment to be sure.
Nevertheless, there are to many firefighters, doing to little work.
I do believe they should be able to bargin for pay and benefits.
To send out 3 FF, one Police unit, and two Paramedics to EVERY SINGLE CALL is just stupid.
The union demanded this requirement based on what exactly?
Burlingame Police and Fire should not be compared to any other City on the Penninsula as to how they should staff their crews.
Use statistics on Burlingame-just Burlingame.
Please read the great editorial in the Post this week regarding the Over staffing of FF's all over the Penninsula.
Food for thought.
I stand by my last post.


I stand by mine post too. Double-dippers, receving a pension and pay from the City after retirement. How many does the City have besides the former Fire Chief? Valid question what are we gaining by having a retired person in the 100,000+ pension club and STILL on the payroll.....


Holyroller- can you post a link to the editorial? Thanks



What Fire Chief are you talking about? Where else is this person working? Once someone retires from they're job they are entitled to get another one. Why do you care if this person wants to work again??


Another Dirty Little Secret.
Jim Nantell signed off on.

A recently retired City of Burlingame Policewomen has been re-hired as a counsultant.
While employeed at City of Burlingame, this Policewomen designed a software program for the use of the Burlingame Police Department.
Since she recently retired, nobody knows how to work/maintain the system she designed while employeed as a Police Officer of the City of Burlingame.
She has been re-hired as a "Counsultant" @ over $100,000.00 a year to fix the system created by her.
This lack of oversight/ management at every level has to be left at the door step of our City Elders.
Kerrigan, Deal,Baylock,Cabbage Patch, and Brownrigg.
Please ask your favorite City of Burlingame Elder why they let the people they are elected to manage get away with this.
There seems to be no end to it.
Please ask why.
In the mean time our Elders want to fire long term City of Burlingame employees, close Easton Libraey to balance the budget.
Dirty Little Secrets.


I don't frown upon any retired person seeking employment, nice to stay busy. When the City hires double-dippers they don't advertise the job so "others" can apply. The City doesn't even try to get a cheaper rate if the service is necessary. The job is just handed over to the retired person such as the former Fire Chief no questions asked, no open application process. It's like here is your pension + here is some more money. It's not like pay you would get at Home Depot. They are large hourly wages or contracts, use of City vehicles. If we have a new Fire Chief why does the City need to create a position for the old one?


You are right!
Send this post to your City Elders.

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