San Francisco Firefighter Salaries Grew During Recession

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San Francisco Nob Hill apartment fire

A firefighter observes flames coming out of an apartment building in San Francisco, 2010. (CBS)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Despite some labor concessions over the past two years, San Francisco firefighters still make nearly 20 percent more than their counterparts in other parts of the Bay Area, according to city officials.

Base pay ranges from $75,000 to $105,000 a year, a scale the city’s chief negotiator, Martin Gran, said is 18.3 percent above the going rate in other nearby cities and counties.

Factor in overtime and special pay and that figure nearly doubles, said human resources director Micki Callahan.

“When you adjust for the hourly rate, it’s on the order of 34 percent,” she said.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Those red hot salaries popped up as Gran and Callahan briefed the supervisors finance committee about labor negotiations. Gran said firefighter salaries were just 5 percent above market in 2008 and nearly 8 percent above market in 2009.

The growth of firefighter salaries has been commensurate with an increase in pay at the San Francisco Police Department, Callahan said.

“Basically fire, if you will, came along for the ride which has created a disconnect because, in fact, the fire market is so much lower now,” she said.

Gran pointed out that firefighters aren’t the only ones among the city’s 26,000 workers making top dollar. He said some clerical workers, custodians and security guards also consistently made much higher than market rates.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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