909 Tennessee
From Guardians of The City with respect to old Engine Company No. 16 at 909 Tennessee:

City Architect John Reid Jr. designed this two-story brick structure to replace the original 1887 home of 16 Engine that was a block away at 1009 Tennessee Street. A two-story brick firehouse with a cornice brightened with small colored tiles, terra cotta keystones accent the arched dormitory windows and plaques above the doors.

Off of Third Street, near the Pier 70 complex, in what is called the “Dogpatch” section of the Potrero District, Engine Company 16 was considered a waterfront company. From the 1880′s through World War II the Potrero Point Pier 70 area was a very active shipbuilding and steel manufacturing district. It became the largest civilian shipyard on the west coast.

This firehouse is located on a bigger plot of land owned the City. To the rear of the firehouse on the corner of 3rd and 19th Streets are the former Potrero Police Station and the neighbor Public Health Emergency room.

Engine Company No.16 was disbanded on July 1, 1970, due to ordered City budget cuts to the Fire Department. From 1970 to 1976 the firehouse was used by Toy Program. From 1976 to 1992 the house was used as a Museum annex apparatus workshop and collection storage area. Since 1992 the firehouse is being used by the Department for storage.

According to a plugged-in tipster the San Francisco Fire Department will be selling 909 Tennessee in order to help balance its budget.
And our tipster’s (paraphrased) question: Does it make sense to address an ongoing budgetary problem with a one time sale of an asset in a down market?
UPDATE: The asking price is expected to be around $735,000.
Engine Company No. 16 (909 Tennessee Street) [guardiansofthecity.org]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by two beers

    Of course it makes sense.
    It’s a mild form of disaster capitalism. This is what happens in recessions and depressions – the excess debt which precipitates the deflation is squeezed from the system by palcing the burden of the debt on the backs of the lower and middle classes, by lowering their standard of living through several means (shifting the massive private debt held by the aristo-piratocracy onto the public sector, reducing real wages, reducing the buying power of joe6pack’s dollar, etc).
    A fortuitous by-product of this transfer of wealth (fortuitous for the aristo-piratocracy) is that they get to buy up valuable assets at “fire-sale” prices.
    This is how the rich get richer. It’s how the parasites feed. It’s nothing new. And we stupid, docile Americans just sit there and take it.

  2. Posted by see both sides

    While it is typically short sighted to dump assets for less than they might be worth in a more stable economy, you have to draw a line somewhere and realize it’s not the worst thing to plug a huge deficit by offloading underutilized property around the city. So getting money for a property that has barely been used in forty years doesn’t seem to be such a bad thing.
    Maybe in another 30 years when that area has been built up into somewhere that the City might need the space it might seem like it was a bad idea to have offloaded the property. From now until then however, the immediate cash generated by the sale, and the property taxes and whatever potential income might be generated in that timeframe, will probably be hard to pass up.

  3. Posted by OneEyedMan

    If you don’t like the offerings from the city/county maybe something at the state of CA fire sale will strike your fancy:
    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-state-buildings26-2010feb26,0,2421507.story

  4. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    The California State selloff is even worse because these are not under-utilized assets. They are assets that the state occupies and needs. The plan is to sell and then lease-back.
    I can see the cycle now, sell off in a down market, lease back. Then in an up market buy the assets back. Good old sell low, buy high strategy.
    Fortunately for the politicians, they will be nicely retired or moved on to fed positions before the negative consequences come to roost.

  5. Posted by phil

    San Francisco and the rest of California continue to live from a boom to a bust cycle. It comes down to a systemic problem with public policies enacted by very short-sighted politicians across this state (and this country). Sadly, the status quo will remain for the foreseeable future.

  6. Posted by JimBobJones

    “systemic problem with public policies enacted by very short-sighted politicians across this state”
    To be fair, while California has particularly terrible short-term thinking politicians (not helped by ridiculously low term limits here), you can’t mention crappy public policies without mentioning the absolutely terrible ballot initiatives that have been passed here. Our ballot initiative system is broken, and it would take a constitutional convention to fix both it and the fiscal damage that ballot initiatives have caused here by requiring high amounts of spending that can’t be easily reversed.

  7. Posted by OneEyedMan

    While they are selling off these buildings (and if you read the article they say the State should not be in the business of owning buildings) they are bidding out a large number of state court houses that they have sold bonds to construct.

  8. Posted by Money Man

    And the effort to raise petition signatures to get the constitutional convention has recently been abandoned, due to lack of support. As usual, the conservatives think it’s a way to increase taxes and the liberals think its a way to cut spending and the public employees think its a way to cut their pensions, and on and on. Not to mention the politicians who are affraid that a new constitution might actually cause them to lose some power.

  9. Posted by SFTAXED

    This just in from SFFD:
    “Per our conversation this morning, the Fire Department property at 909
    Tennessee Street, Old Station 16, is in the process of being sold. The
    Department of Real Estate is handling the sale and is currently working
    with other City agencies to clear the property for the sale. It is the
    Department’s and City’s goal to have the property sold by the end of this
    fiscal year ending June 30, 2010. For further details on the process or
    market schedule, please call the Department of Real Estate.
    Deputy Chief of Administration
    San Francisco Fire Department
    P.S. The Chief said the asking price will be approximately $735,000

  10. Posted by SFTAXED

    Chief of Department Hayes-White told the San Francisco Budget Committee on Wednesday that S.F. Firefighter’s Union Local # 798 is one of the prospective buyers.
    I would look unfavorably on a deal that kept it all in the family or could conceivably be interpreted as an “inside deal.”

  11. Posted by Gil

    True about the constitutional convention.
    There is I believe an initiative gathering signatures to make the state elected government part-time – as it is in Texas and several other states.
    Anyway, I think large tax increases on the middle class are now inevitable in California. There is no way out of the mess insofar as the state politicians won’t do anything and the public employee unions have a stranglehold on the state.

  12. Posted by SFRE

    I wonder if that place is worth buying. The outside looks nice, but its probably bad on the inside.

  13. Posted by JimBobJones

    “And the effort to raise petition signatures to get the constitutional convention has recently been abandoned, due to lack of support. As usual, the conservatives think it’s a way to increase taxes and the liberals think its a way to cut spending and the public employees think its a way to cut their pensions, and on and on. Not to mention the politicians who are affraid that a new constitution might actually cause them to lose some power.”
    The thing is ALL of those need to be done:
    1) certain taxes probably need to be increased slightly at least temporarily (one of the best things would be repealing Prop 13!, but the old automatic vehicle licensing fee increase was actually smart), even though they are high here already
    2) spending needs to be cut badly
    3) public employee pensions need to be cut because their benefits packages are outweighing the private sector and will bankrupt the state; and
    4) California politicians need to lose some power (and the budget process has been broken for a while)
    It’s easy to motivate people to support pet interests, but hard to motivate people to support better government.

  14. Posted by Jimmy C

    Imagine if govt agencies had to pay property taxes on the value of their property. You would see a lot more mothballed or un-necessary buildings such as this come on the market.
    At asking it will generate more than $8,000 per year in property taxes and as it will need to be rehabed and re-assessed, a conservative estimate is three years from now it could generate $16-$20k per year in property taxes, vs. $0 now.
    That’s almost enough to cover the monthly cost of one firefighter on disability because they hurt thier back making chili.

  15. Posted by Soundslikeagoodidea

    Does the SFFD have an option other than selling our real estate?
    The answer is ‘Yes.’
    Sell the firehouse and you have a one-time only, $700,000 boost to income, offsetting a budget deficit.
    My suggestion is to have one Battalion Chiefs position eliminated. That way, in 12 months, the City would save over a Million dollars and still own the firehouse. The million would be saved again year after year after year. And we would STILL have the firehouse.
    I hope it is clear to you, this would mean only 1 less person would report to work each day out of the present 340.
    I’ve been asked how is it possible for the City to save a million dollars by only eliminating a single Battalion Chief’s position.
    The Controller’s Office in determining costs uses this guideline for the S.F. Fire Department.
    One Battalion Chiefs position requires 4.7 employees to man it 24/7/365.
    Below is a list of what most of the SFFD Battalion Chiefs earned in the calendar year of 2009. Take the earnings of any 5 (or more precisely 4.7) S.F. Battalion Chiefs earnings last year and voilå the million in savings appear and the firehouse and property remain in taxpayers possession.
    I have included the Full Time Department Physician’s salary as a guide to reality.
    SUPERVISING PHYSICIAN SPECIALIST $155,378.85
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $247,580.31
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $233,595.53
    ASSISTANT CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT, $275,973.43
    ASSISTANT CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT, ( $248,739.98
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $238,607.50
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $241,081.57
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $239,198.40
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $219,720.62
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $229,504.45
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $224,422.15
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $208,122.04
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $216,473.43
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $214,721.46
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $181,496.72
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $255,884.26
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $247,975.99
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $236,372.96
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $227,065.70
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $228,526.80
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $183,356.24
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $177,184.34
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $176,634.33
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $224,674.38
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $209,188.22
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $203,054.93
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $197,415.44
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $196,795.20
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $215,086.04
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $200,501.57
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $218,158.88
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $208,650.04
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $192,014.79
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $200,042.39
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $180,353.24
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $245,832.25
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $215,107.80
    BATTALION CHIEF, (FIRE DEPARTMENT) $220,061.92

  16. Posted by sparky-b

    ^^^How many Battalion Chiefs are there?

  17. Posted by SFRE

    Wow…I had no idea as to the salaries of Fire Department Personnel.

  18. Posted by Jeremy

    The excessively simple answer is, no, you don’t sell capital assets to address a structural deficit. But reality isn’t that simple.

  19. Posted by Mr. Smith

    “Anyway, I think large tax increases on the middle class are now inevitable in California. There is no way out of the mess insofar as the state politicians won’t do anything and the public employee unions have a stranglehold on the state.”
    Here is one idea, other than increase taxes for those who work, are responsible, and pay taxes – ship all of the illegal immigrants (i.e. those who broke laws and are here illegally) back to south of the border. The saving from the healthcare system alone will be enough to get the state back on track (let alone the savings from the prison system, schools, support services, etc.)

  20. Posted by joh

    Wow…I had no idea as to the salaries of Fire Department Personnel.
    I’ve heard that a journeyman firefighter makes around $100K with a bachelor’s degree — maybe 10%(?) less without the degree. Sadly, not enough to buy a home in the city they are paid to protect, so I’m sure most either rent or commute, except for maybe the old-timers.

  21. Posted by joh

    Is this property zoned as PDR or mixed-use?

  22. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    This place looks awesome! I could live upstairs, park the M3 in one bay and run my company in the rest of it… that would be sweet!
    Wish I earned as much as a fireman though …

  23. Posted by anon

    “Sadly, not enough to buy a home in the city”
    Speaking of which, is there some particular reason that the illustrious SFGate.com commenters have decided that construction workers, firefighters, and other blue collar-ey types etc. all live in Novato? Seems like an odd assertion to me, but I’ve seen it a few times. Unclear if that’s related to why it seems a large percentage of commenters on SFGate.com seem to be trolls who don’t even live in the Bay Area.

  24. Posted by joh

    Found the answer to my earlier questions. this place appears to be zoned as mixed-use. I wonder if a developer will rehab it with new construction to build condos.

  25. Posted by CPA

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AopdvMvLhJfddExwNEtubnVuaDV0STlpOGpHeVEwYWc&hl=en
    The above website lists in calendar year 2009 that 67 San Francisco firefighters made between $200,000 and $280,000.
    It lists 341 S.F. firefighters who made between $150,000 and $199,000.
    It lists 1,030 S.F. firefighters who made between $100,000 and $149,000.

  26. Posted by SFBear

    These salaries are absolutely ridiculous. And that doesn’t include very generous benefits and pensions kicking in as early as at 50.
    I wonder how much it would cost to have privatized fire stations…

  27. Posted by justme

    I wonder how much it would cost to have privatized fire stations

    Nice house youze gots there. It’d be a shame if something, y’know, happened to it.

  28. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    You could easily privatize fire-fighting. Just show up at the fire with your fire truck and a credit-card reader and make sure you either (a) collect payment upfront (in cash or credit) or (b) they have fire insurance … in which case you just start the water. If there’s no one outside to pay up, then rescue the owner first and wring the cash out of him before you go back in for the pets and children.
    Honestly I don’t see a problem.
    To cut costs, hire a bunch of illegal immigrants whom you pay $8-$12/hr instead of the $100/hr we pay now. No bennies, retirement or health care (or unions of course)!
    Perhaps you could have competing firefighter companies who will show up on the steps of the fire & bid against each other for the job? That could work to lower costs!
    And if its a rental property where none of your family is at risk, who really cares? Just let the crap burn (the lot is always worth more bare) and to heck with the occupants.

  29. Posted by anonn

    735K? Why so inexpensive?

  30. Posted by Rodin

    Anon asks: 735K? Why so inexpensive?
    Like I read above, it looks like the fix is in so that the Firefighters Union Local # 798 can buy it.
    The price is set low. Local 798 comes in and pays asking price and no one can dispute that they paid fair market value.
    Notice that you will see precious little advertising of this property
    to generate competitive bidding.
    It’s the San Francisco Way.

  31. Posted by Rodin

    It is interesting to note that the qualifications to enter the SFFD is as follows:
    1) Be 21 years of age at the time of hiring.
    2) Possess a High school diploma or equivalent at application.
    3) There are no more.

  32. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “735k? Why so inexpensive?”
    just a guess, but there may be deferred seismic upgrades required by the buyer. This building being both unoccupied AND owned by the city could make it a candidate to evade the “fix it or tear it down” mandate from the last decade.

  33. Posted by Mr. Smith

    Just a quick question…related to the earthquake that just hit Chile, and the comment above regarding seismic upgrades. If you own a condo (not a single family), and there is an earthquake causing damage to a roof or building facade, is that only covered if you have earthquake insurance? I am speaking for primarily the newer buildings like ORH, Infinity, Blu, and basically anything built in the past 5 years that has more than 20 units.
    If it is only covered by earthquake insurance, then do the condo owners have to pony up $$ to get it fixed? Or does the government come in and pay to get it fixed?

  34. Posted by SFBear

    If I understand this correctly, if a fire department is privatized, the city signs a contract with the vendor to provide these services. For the citizens it wouldn’t feel any different.
    From what I’ve heard, there are like hundreds of applicants for every SFFD position opening, and it’s been like that for years. After seeing the salaries, it’s not surprising anymore.
    When supply of something (labor in this case) is far greater than demand – that means that the cost is way too high. Getting rid of the union through privatization might be the only way to lower the cost and bring it closer to the equilibrium.

  35. Posted by diemos

    All public safety spending (police, courts and fire) is only a third of the general fund.

  36. Posted by Gil

    I heard a discussion about this on Barbara Simpson’s show a few weeks ago. She had a guest who’d been looking into public employee pay benefit programs.
    One thing, in the past the argument was that people took these jobs becuase even though the pay was lower than in the private sector there was job security. Like it’s very hard to fire a public employee.
    Course what has changed is that the public employee salaries in California now are often higher than in private industry. And the benefits much better.
    Barbara’s guest mentioned that in the fire and police departments in the few years before a person retiures they get promotions specifically to increase their base pay and thusly their retirment pay. Often, and I know of 2 ex-cops who have done this, after they retire they go back working on contract at a high salry for the police department. Working in the office and doing administrative stuff.
    With due respect to police and fire, it’s a racket and the tax-payer is being fleeced.

  37. Posted by SFBear

    Gil, here is a story about an East Bay fire chief who retired at 51, got $241K pension (spiked from $186K), continues working as a consultant doing his old job for another $176K.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124804047828063059.html

  38. Posted by anonn

    It is interesting to note that the qualifications to enter the SFFD is as follows:
    1) Be 21 years of age at the time of hiring.
    2) Possess a High school diploma or equivalent at application.
    3) There are no more

    No way. There are tons of exams, including some physical tests that probably not even 1/4 of humanity could pass in their best physical condition. And who cares if a fireman has a college degree?

  39. Posted by Dav

    Is this related to the 901 Tenessee property also owned by the city? I remember seeing this in a March 2nd report from the Bayview police blotter:
    Thursday, February 11, 2010 – 12:20 AM – Trespassing – 901 Tennessee
    Street – CS# 100 138 236 – A member of the San Francisco Fire Department
    advised police that there has been a problem with squatters gaining
    entry to the, abandoned, historic fire house located at 901 Tennessee
    Street. The squatters would illegally and unsafely tap into the
    electrical panel as well as set small fires inside of the building. In
    an effort to solve the problem, a Fire Department official gave a key to
    Bayview midnight shift Officer Hodgin to monitor the situation. On
    February 4th at 3:00 AM Officer Hodgin went inside and found a female
    and her male companion. He advised both to leave and cautioned them
    that they would be arrested on request of the Fire Department if they
    returned. They complied. On February 11th Officer Hodgin returned and
    found again found the female inside the building. She was arrested and
    issued a misdemeanor citation for trespassing.

  40. Posted by Toady

    “All public safety spending (police, courts and fire) is only a third of the general fund.”
    So you’re saying that we’re spending $1.017 BILLION a year for public safety spending?
    (General Fund for 2010 is 3.052B)

  41. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    As a SF native of Irish decent I have a lot of relatives in the SF fire department and almost all of them make around $200K a year (including overtime). Very few SF firefighters have more than a college degree and a guy that went to SI, SH or Riordan will have a better time getting a job as a SF firefighter than a guy born outside the city who has a Masters degree in Fire Science. Allowing SF Firefighters to retire at 50 and get a pension of 90% of their last years pay (increasing at CPI) until they die can not work over the long term and just like Social Security is great for a while, but can’t last forever.

  42. Posted by Soundslikeagoodidea

    Business Model:
    When a fire department pays 327 people in an organization, more money than the Full time Department physician who makes $155,378, you – in this case the taxpayer – will not be able to sustain such an enterprise.
    The 327 SF firefighters earned between $155,378.85 and $293,000.
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AopdvMvLhJfddExwNEtubnVuaDV0STlpOGpHeVEwYWc&hl=en
    As an example, two firefighters have full time jobs in the SFFD as light duty mechanics. They jump batteries, replace lights on the rigs, and drive a tow truck.
    For several years now they have averaged about $198,000 a year. I’m not saying it is illegal. I am saying that the San Francisco Fire Department has no checks on how they spend their allotted budget.

  43. Posted by kathlee

    Stop paying for healthcare costs for public employees who earn over $200,000 per year.

  44. Posted by Troy

    Under socialism the working class feather their nests.
    Under capitalism the capitalist class feather their nests.
    Just think, these SF battalion chiefs make almost as much as RE agents.

  45. Posted by SFBear

    “So you’re saying that we’re spending $1.017 BILLION a year for public safety spending?”
    Easily. Just the salaries/overtime of the firemen add up to $216 Million. That doesn’t include benefits. That doesn’t include other SFFD costs.
    And I’m pretty sure that the $1.017 Billion doesn’t include the future cost of paying them 90% of their salaries after the retirement at 50.
    Here is the SFFD budget, including salaries for various positions:
    http://www.sf-fire.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=180

  46. Posted by joh

    anonn’s right about the exams and such. I’ve known people in fairly decent shape (i.e. exercised and worked out regularly) who have failed the physical exam.

  47. Posted by joh

    Not trying to be an apologist for the SFFD or anything, as I’m sure they could be more cost-effective (just like any other gov’t agency). With that said…
    The above website lists in calendar year 2009 that 67 San Francisco firefighters made between $200,000 and $280,000.
    It lists 341 S.F. firefighters who made between $150,000 and $199,000.
    It lists 1,030 S.F. firefighters who made between $100,000 and $149,000.

    Are all of those figures for actual firefighters, or are you including all fire dept staff? (I can’t seem to sort the spreadsheet).
    Also, note that out of 1664 fire dept employees, 1053 employees have a base salary under $100K. The majority of those whose total pay is significantly more than that are not rank-and-file firefighters. They are paramedics, lieutenants, managers, battalion chiefs,…
    To cut costs, hire a bunch of illegal immigrants whom you pay $8-$12/hr instead of the $100/hr we pay now. No bennies, retirement or health care (or unions of course)!
    The rank-and-file firefighters make nowhere close to a $100K/hour. More like $50/hr (assuming base salary of $100K is based on 2086 hrs/yr).
    When a fire department pays 327 people in an organization, more money than the Full time Department physician who makes $155,378, you – in this case the taxpayer – will not be able to sustain such an enterprise.
    Look at the spreadsheet linked above. There are only 48 fire dept employees whose base salary is higher than the Supervisor Physician Specialist. Many people make more, but they’re working lots more hours (overtime).

  48. Posted by Soundslikeagoodidea

    Under the Radar Pay raises to SFFD firefighters that taxpayers do not know about. Don’t trust Basic Pay column, it is misleading.
    When you go to this website:http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AopdvMvLhJfddExwNEtubnVuaDV0STlpOGpHeVEwYWc&hl=en
    You will find a column that says “OTHER PAY.”
    The “other pay” is a fraud upon taxpayers. Last year $24 million in Premium Bonus pay was distributed among the 1600 employees.
    The Overtime costs for 2009 was $28 million, BUT taxpayers received 400,000 hours of work.
    For the $24 million of Premium Bonus Pay, NOT A SINGLE EXTRA HOUR OF WORK WAS PERFORMED.
    It’s merely Bonuses paid out without taxpayers knowing about it.
    Go look at the “OTHER PAY” column – free money.
    SAMPLE:
    OTHER PAY
    $53,885.57
    $48,694.89
    $25,227.73
    $42,870.23
    $30,495.78
    $4,702.24
    $64,628.83
    $56,396.57
    $52,151.94
    $49,488.55 The left represents free money.
    $46,434.70
    $7,100.61
    Premium Bonus Pay are merely percentage of hourly wage increases, pretty much for doing your job.
    FROM THE MOU:
    24.2 Members who possess one or more of the following shall receive an additional six
    percent (6%) of their base wage:
    (1) Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree in Fire Science or related field;
    (2) Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in related field;
    (3) Ten (10) years of service in the Fire Department and completion of the Fire
    Department’s annual training requirements.
    SECTION 25. HAZARDOUS MATERIALS PAY
    25.1 Members who are qualified Hazardous Materials (HAZ MAT) Specialists shall receive
    $26.50 Hazardous Materials Pay, per biweekly pay period.
    25.2 Any employee who possesses a Hazardous Materials Certificate shall receive a Haz Mat
    premium of five percent (5%) of base pay for all hours worked at Rescue 1, Rescue 2, or
    Station 36.
    26.2 A qualified EMT temporarily assigned to carry out the duties of the regularly assigned
    EMT for a minimum of one full watch shall receive 5 percent (5%) of base pay when
    performing such work prorated for each watch so assigned.
    SECTION 27. APPARATUS OPERATOR ASSIGNMENT PAY
    27.1 Employees assigned to perform the duties of apparatus operator (pump operator, aerial
    truck operator, tiller operator, Rescue Squad driver, Bureau of Equipment driver, Service
    Squad driver and Airport apparatus driver) shall receive Apparatus Operator Assignment
    Pay of 5 percent (5%) of their base pay for performing such work.
    Preceptor Differential Pay. Employees in the rank of H-3 EMT/Paramedic/Firefighter
    who are designated as a certified Preceptor in relation to paramedic or other emergency
    medical services training activities shall be paid an eight percent (8%) Preceptor differential in addition to their base pay for any hours during which they are assigned to
    train a member of the San Francisco Fire Department.
    Employees in ranks of H-20 Lieutenant and H-30 Captain who are currently certified by
    the SFFD EMS Medical Director as a paramedic shall be paid an additional $26.50
    biweekly incentive pay for as long as they maintain such certification.
    29.3 Bilingual Assignment Pay. Employees who are assigned by the Chief of the Department
    to a designated bilingual assignment shall be paid an additional compensation of $36.00
    biweekly. A designated bilingual assignment is one designated by the Department which
    requires translating to and from a foreign language including sign language as used by the
    hearing impaired.
    Retention Pay. Employees who have completed twenty-three (23) years or more of
    service as a uniformed member of the Department shall receive 2% Retention Pay.
    Effective June 30, 2008, employees who have completed twenty-six (26) years or more
    of service as a uniformed member of the Department shall receive an additional two
    percent (2%) retention pay, for a total of four percent (4%).
    Paramedic License Pay and Paramedic Clinical Assignment Pay. Employees in the rank
    of H-3 Level III who are appointed to the rank of H-2 Firefighter and who are required to
    maintain a valid California paramedic license shall be paid Paramedic License Pay of five
    percent (5%) in addition to their base pay for all hours. Such employees shall also be paid
    Paramedic Clinical Assignment Pay of five percent (5%) in addition to their base pay for
    any hours during which they are assigned to a clinical paramedic position on an ALS
    engine.
    Night Shift Differential. Employees in the ranks of H-3 Level I and II shall be paid six
    and one-quarter percent (6.25%) more than the base rate of pay for all time actually
    worked between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

  49. Posted by Soundslikeagoodidea

    Premium Bonus Pay is sinister because these percentages are added on before you compute the time and a half for overtime, thus increasing Overtime costs.
    Premium Bonus Pay keeps on giving at Retirement because they are added on and included in computing the 90% retirement figure.
    “18.15
    Premium payments provided in this section shall be considered as part of an employee’s regular rate of pay for the purpose of computing overtime pay due under this Agreement”

  50. Posted by Boola Boola

    I’m starting to wish I went to Riordan instead of Yale if an Ivy League residency only gets you $154,000.
    “Dr. Terrazas currently serves as the Department Physician for the San Francisco Fire Department. His is board certification in Occupational and Environmental Medicine and obtained a Master of Public Health degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin. He completed his residency at the University of Pennsylvania.”

  51. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    Joh wrote:
    > The rank-and-file firefighters make nowhere close to
    > a $100K/hour. More like $50/hr (assuming base salary
    > of $100K is based on 2086 hrs/yr).
    Remember that most firefighters work 24 hour shifts and are allowed to sleep for close to half of them. They also get paid for watching TV, shopping and “hanging out” so the pay for “actually working” is way more than $100/hour.
    http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:YFcVE1X3Lm8J:sanfranciscofiredepartment.com/Report-26-ARCHIVED.htm+%22San+Francisco:+%22Fire+department%22+shift&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

  52. Posted by diemos

    They also serve who stand and wait. If you could get people to schedule their house fires in advance you could greatly reduce the headcount needed to cover the city. As it is you have to decide the trade-off between how many idle units you want to have versus the probability that when TSHTF you won’t have enough.
    The opposite of efficiency is not in-efficiency, it is resiliency.

  53. Posted by hahahahahBLAH

    what does this tipster think he/she means by “down market” ?

  54. Posted by RogerSF

    I don’t want to make a big deal out of statistics, but this one leaves me with a question.
    The Director of the 911 Center reported the following last week.
    The 911 Center receives about 18,000 calls a week.
    80% are Law Enforcement related.
    14 % are Medical Responses.
    6 % are for Fire Suppression.
    The SFFD handles Fire and Emergency Medical. That’s 20% of the calls.
    However, The EMT’s handle 80% of the responses issued by the SFFD.
    My question: How much sitting around time is there for our firemen and women?

  55. Posted by joh

    Remember that most firefighters work 24 hour shifts and are allowed to sleep for close to half of them. They also get paid for watching TV, shopping and “hanging out” so the pay for “actually working” is way more than $100/hour.
    Good point FAB. But that’s just the nature of the job, as diemos illustrated. Watching TV on the job is not spending time at home with the family. Sleeping is nice, but they are sharing a room with lots of other firefighters, some of whom snore throughout the night. And shopping is just for their meals while on shift, correct? In any case, If I had to be on-call at a firehouse, I’d want to be compensated, even if I wasn’t doing “real” work. There are other places I’d much rather be.
    And I’ve heard that some stations are often busy enough to keep them working through most of the shift. On the flip side, there must be a few stations where not a whole lot goes on.

  56. Posted by joh

    You will find a column that says “OTHER PAY.”
    The “other pay” is a fraud upon taxpayers. Last year $24 million in Premium Bonus pay was distributed among the 1600 employees.

    I don’t see a problem with this. SFFD is paying a higher wage to those with essential skills, experience, and knowledge. Just like private companies do.

  57. Posted by DalyCityJKey

    California Fire News
    Friday, February 12, 2010
    San Francisco Fire Department overtime explodes – $27.5 million in overtime in 2009
    Overtime costs at the San Francisco Fire Department are on pace to smash record levels, even as Mayor Gavin Newsom asks city agencies to trim their spending in light of a $522 million budget deficit. Front-line firefighters, paramedics, plumbers, mechanics and brass at the department racked up a record $27.5 million in overtime in 2009, according to a Controller’s Report.

The data includes overtime accrued in both the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 fiscal years. Salaries comprise $215 million of a total budget of $280 million.
Firefighters work a 48.7 hour workweek mandated by the City Charter, which can only be altered at the ballot box. A typical schedule is on a three-day cycle: 24 hours on duty followed by 48 hours off duty. 
Efforts to put a ballot proposition before the voters extending firefighters’ workweeks to 52 hours — which could have saved up to $7 million a year — were abandoned in face of strong opposition from the firefighters’ union.
    SF City Employees’ monthly overtime report for November 2009
    But as the budget season heats up, supervisors and others at City Hall may well take aim at the “other pay” category as well as overtime, as firefighters cashed in $24.6 million worth of “other pay” last year. Ten firefighters took home $100,000-plus of other pay alone last year.
    Calls to the Fire Department and to the fire union were not returned Thursday, but the union itself says that the “other pay” category is complex.
    No firefighters were laid off during last year’s budget crunch, though firefighters did agree to delay wage increases promised to them during their last contract negotiations.
    The Fire Department is considering selling real estate in order to cut $13.3 million from its budget.
    Top Earners
    San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White is by all accounts good at her job — and she’s well compensated for it. Hayes-White received $293,869.93 for her services in 2009 — but she’s not the Fire Department’s top earner.
    That honor went to Battalion Chief Johnny Lo. Lo’s base pay was $101,164.21, but he took home $53,409.64 in overtime and $139,549.39 in a category called “other pay” (cashed in sick days and vacation time) for a grand earning of $294,123.24.
    Joining Lo and Hayes-White atop the $200,000+ plateau were 67 other firefighters — and not just the SFFD’s top brass. Paramedics, investigators, a plumbing supervisor and the “marine engineer of fire boats” all took home more than $200,000, according to a departmental wage list obtained by The Appeal.
    In all, 1433 firefighters earned more than $100,000 in 2009. The department’s total payroll was $215,991,928.
    Last year, an Examiner report said that Fire Department’s top brass are forced by law to work overtime because of city law. City law says two assistant chiefs and nine battalion chiefs must work at all times, and if a battalion chief is sick or goes on vacation, the list of qualified replacements is small, and the replacement then works on overtime, the report said.
    Captain Joseph D. Driscoll — who was decorated for Meritorious Conduct during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake — was the department’s top overtime earner in 2009. Driscoll received $110,590 in overtime pay last year, nearly doubling his base pay of $131,922.

  58. Posted by wheelchairgirl

    The Weekly says one of our local Republicans may be able to block the sale of the SF Supreme Court building by the state.
    http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2010/02/ex_sf_republican_boss_vows_to.php
    I am wondering if union local buyer is the same one which currently occupies that little brick squat building opposite the Soma Grand, where that big Mission St fire hit a few years ago. There’s empty lots on either side of that antique brick building the union currently has, and it took fire damage which I don’t think ever got fully repaired (and may be unrepairable). Somebody might want to keep an eye on that lot and see if it goes up for sale too.
    And dang, guys, I almost wish they *would* privatize the FD; then they could charge you ungrateful sorts what it’s worth to save you from your next heart attack when RE prices drop again. Y’all do realize what the disability and death rates are like in these jobs, right? And that nobody sane takes that job for the money? I’m not saying we couldn’t cut a few corners in the FD, but some of you sound like you’d rather the City hung on to that junker lot and fired a couple battalion chiefs – who are, by the way, the equivalent of a trained firefighter, EMT, and upper-level corporate personnel manager. Somebody’s gotta ride herd on those twenty-something kids with the axes. Meanwhile, the kids with the axes are doing engine maintenance, training, cleaning, and a ton of other stuff when they’re “sitting around watching TV”. Some of y’all oughta go visit your local station and learn a few things.

  59. Posted by 2nd&townsend

    Wheelchair girl said this: “the kids with the axes are doing engine maintenance,”
    She is wrong. 100% wrong.
    In San Francisco, firefighters can only check the oil level on rigs; add oil if needed and fill the rigs up with gas.
    Anything else, including Lube jobs and oil changes, the rigs must be taken to Central Shops where civilian mechanics, who all make less than firefighters, work on these 1/2 million dollar rigs.
    Do not believe all the myths that are offered about what goes on behind firehouse doors. Also, do not believe the denials of what goes on either.

  60. Posted by Sunny Jim

    The one on Pacific sold for 880k a few years ago.
    Anyone remember the sushi place LMRiM suggested on the West Side?

  61. Posted by joh

    And that nobody sane takes that job for the money?
    Don’t kid yourself. Lots of sane firefighters take the job for the money. And the benefits, job security, and retirement package.
    Do you think that all of those high overtime earners are working that much for the love of the job? Surely, some are in it just for the money.

  62. Posted by 2nd&Townsend

    CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
    Please be sure to read the entire announcement before completing an application
    http://www.muybueno.net/jobpro/jobs2008/1202sffirefighter.html
    H-2 FIREFIGHTER
    Eligibility Requirements (verified during Background Investigation):
    Age: Applicants must be at least 19 years old as of December 13, 2008. (Civil Service Rule 310.15)
    Education: Applicants must have a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate (e.g., G.E.D., California High School Proficiency Certificate) by December 13, 2008.
    Driving Record: Applicants must possess a valid Class A, B, or C California Driver License by the time of their appointment.

  63. Posted by anonn

    To join the applicant pool, yes. To be hired? No.

  64. Posted by anonandon

    “67 San Francisco firefighters made between $200,000 and $280,000. It lists 341 S.F. firefighters who made between $150,000 and $199,000. It lists 1,030 S.F. firefighters who made between $100,000 and $149,000″
    I know San Francisco has been noted as “America’s worst run big city”, but the firefighter salary discussion on this thread shocked even my jaded eyes. And yet I heard a Fireman call in to KGO during the Asiana crash reporting and say that he cannot “afford” to live in San Francisco and “must” live up in Novato or somewhere. This comment was made during a period when reporters were praising first responders after the crash and had remarked about how “underpaid” they were.

  65. Posted by lol

    The problem with people making a decent paycheck in SF is that they expect a Norman Rockwell tableau with a white picket fence around a 1/4 acre lot and wifey staying at home to bake apple pies and take care of the 2.8 kids. Nope. If you’re lucky it’s gonna be 1/14 acre and rowhouses that were built for shopkeepers and carpenters. $150-$200K/y will buy you something imperfect either in location, condition or size.
    One other way to be able to afford a decent life: right-timing, but not everyone will realize they missed the boat 3 years ago. Oops, you will have to wait a few years for the next one. Tough.
    Should we raise CIVIL SERVANT incomes to play catch-up with Googleionnaires? I’ll tell that to my private sector boss and leave the room to let him enjoy his healthy laugh.

  66. Posted by anonandon

    There is NO reason a BART train driver should make double a commercial aviation pilot, and there is no reason for a S.F. firemen to be be pulling in over 200K a year after playing with overtime rules. Still, let’s not fix this problem, and instead build some bike paths and parklets instead. I don’t care whether a “civil servant” lives in San Francisco or Alameda, as long as their salary does not exceed real trained professionals who have none of the benefits or perks that SFGov gives it’s staff.

  67. Posted by lol

    The sfgov pay grade system is broken
    - Regular workers see cost of living and ask for a pay raise
    - Their managers see the Regular workers pay raises and ask for a pay raise
    - Their employees now see these pay raises and ask for a pay raise
    - Upper Management sees pay grades in other counties and ask for a pay raise
    - Other counties see SF pay grades and ask for a pay raise
    In the mean time, these pay raises are decided by people who already give themselves pay raises, and will allow pay raises to keep everyone quiet and especially make their own pay levels look normal.
    The kicker: when asked why all the SFGov pays are so much, the answer is either “we need to get the best of the best” or “they could go to the private sector”. Private firemen? Private Muni drivers?
    Fast forward a few cycles and you have unrealistic pay levels across the board except for people with no leverage (like teachers).
    Good thing we’re a wealthy City.

  68. Posted by anonandon

    “Good thing we’re a wealthy City.”
    I assume this is a joke? I know the SFMTA is in severe deficit and has delayed maintenance for years despite the most expensive parking citation rates in the country. Is there an overall surplus that SFGov has that I am not aware of?

  69. Posted by lol

    No surplus, but a relatively small deficit. The main reason is a very healthy business environment. Even with gross mismanagement though generous self-serving, SF is not bankrupt.
    Something that sickens me is EVERY TIME I pass by City Hall on Van Ness on Saturdays, whatever the time, there’s one or two party rental trucks on the delivery space! As if life at City Hall was just a never ending party full of Champagne and Petits Fours.
    Come one! A bit of belt tightening would do them good.

  70. Posted by Deficits Matter

    Well I just read the city does not have the funds to fix the MUNI escalators so I am censorious of the ” small ” deficit at city hall. ( they are however designing motorized hatches that will cover the exterior stairs since police and security are unable to stop people from using the stairways as public toilets in our “world class” wealthy city. I think I read they MIGHT be able to install these within next five years)

  71. Posted by lol

    ^Good point^
    But do you think the issue is not that the city will say it doesn’t have enough funds to fix everything that’s broken, but that they will say it while giving themselves very fat paychecks.
    Not that I believe everything that politicians will say at face value, but Ed Lee is planning a balanced budget next year. Maybe at the cost of maintenance? They have their priorities wrong.
    We can all denounce incredible abuses in salary, but our politicians have figured they could go get away with a lot of hypocrisy. That’s what happens when a party is almost guaranteed 80% of the votes.

  72. Posted by anon

    I assume this is a joke? I know the SFMTA is in severe deficit and has delayed maintenance for years despite the most expensive parking citation rates in the country. Is there an overall surplus that SFGov has that I am not aware of?
    Whether there’s a surplus or deficit, lol’s point that we’re a wealthy city stands. Our overall budget per capita is astoundingly higher than other peer cities, meaning that we have loads and loads and loads of pork that could be removed if we wanted to.
    Now…I’d be completely fine with the budget staying roughly the same in total dollars (or maybe reduce a bit and start a rainy day fund to help with business cycle ups and downs), but with a gigantic push towards restructuring how/where that money is spent. Too much on services and transfer payments to non-profits, and not nearly enough on infrastructure maintenance, improvement and expansion. All of that always seems to be funded through one-off ballot initiatives rather than having dedicated funding.

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