Firefighters Lost Since 2016
Years of Experience Lost
Loss in Money
For many years public safety has been under attack. Your Kern County Firefighters have been fighting to protect the safety of the public and firefighters every step of the way, unfortunately we are now starting to lose the battle. Year after year fire department budgets include cuts. The fire department and Local 1301 has worked hard to cut costs and bring in revenue, unfortunately the only thing left to cut is services to residents and businesses. Despite what CAO Ryan Alsop believes the fire department is not a for profit business, it is critical infrastructure that must be properly funded. The CAO and Board of Supervisors have used their go to local media sources to spread a false narrative and discontent towards our members. That is why we want to set the record straight with the following facts.
KCFD is Underfunded
- County Budget Compared to Fire Budget
- Property tax 1%
KCFD is Understaffed
- The population in Kern County has increased by 13% and on-duty firefighters have decreased. For many years a goal of the Kern County Fire Department and approved by the Board of Supervisors was to have 1 on-duty firefighter for every 2500 residents.
- KCFD protects over 8000 square miles from 47 fire stations and only 162 on-duty professional firefighters every day.
- Total emergency incidents have seen a 45% increase with less of a workforce.
- KCFD is below the NFPA 1710 recommended Engine and Truck Staffing.
- The large areas, diverse terrain, low staffing, and low station numbers make it difficult to get the needed personnel on the scene of an emergency in an acceptable amount of time.
Lack of Support has Caused Retention Issues and Low Morale
- The Kern County Fire Department has seen 59 individuals leave for other fire departments or private sector jobs since 2016. A combined 309 years of knowledge, experience, and training has been lost and $29 million dollars has been wasted.
- The County has tried to reduce staffing many times over the years causing fire fighters to question the security of their job. 23ABC 2017
- With so many vacant positions fire fighters are being forced to work extra shifts. With the addition of the increased call volume fire fighters are overworked.
- During the negotiations that started in 2018 and ended in impasse the County of Kern violated the Meyers-Milias-Brown act for withholding information from Local 1301. Mastagni Holstedt
- After 2 years of contentious negotiations the Board of Supervisors voted to impose their Last, Best and Final offer on 6/30/2020, that included all cuts in pay to firefighters. Knowing that the independent neutral mediator concluded Kern County Firefighters are underpaid and deserve Cost of Living increases. MOU with Fire Fighters Last, Best, Final Offer.pdf
Kern County Firefighters Saved Money
- The last 3 contracts signed by Kern County Firefighters have not included any net raises or additional benefits from the county. In fact, Kern County Firefighters are now contributing the full share towards our retirement and health care costs.
- Firefighters have not had a net wage increase or even a Cost of Living Adjustment in 12 years.
- Kern County Firefighters lobbied for 3 SAFER grants in the amount of $20,598,056. To not make cuts to public safety and help the county with their budget over last 10 years.
- Working extra shifts for overtime saves the county money compared to filling all the positions, but at a cost of overworking employees.