County Supervisor Mary Piepho was recently quoted in the Brentwood Press touting the ability of fire district employees to retire at age 50 with a pension at nearly full salary, calling it the “industry standard.” Unfortunately, the article failed to note that Piepho is married to a firefighter, and has a personal interest in defending this generous retirement benefit.
It’s instructive to look at the effect this industry standard has had on other fire districts in the county, based on data from the Contra Costa County Employees’ Retirement Association.
· Forty percent of the 645 county retirees receiving pensions of $100,000 or more used to work for fire districts.
· More than half of those receiving pensions of $200,000 or more are retired fire district employees.
· The top pension retiree is, you guessed it, a former fire district employee enjoying more than $300,000 every year.
Twenty-eight percent of those receiving $100,000-plus pensions worked for the Contra Costa Consolidated Fire Protection District. As a result of generous salaries and benefits, ConFire, which is much better funded than our fire district, is broke and will likely be seeking a tax hike in November.
The industry standard championed by our supervisor is great for fire district employees, but not so great for taxpayers who get stuck with the tab. This is the future of our fire district if Measure $ passes. Instead of a fire protection district, ECCFPD is morphing into a retirement protection district. Vote no on Measure $.
Dave Roberts, Oakley